The Air Training Corps (ATC), commonly known as Air Cadets, is the arm of the New Zealand Cadet Forces (NZCF) aligned with the Royal New Zealand Air Force (RNZAF), which is why we have similar uniforms, rank structure and training. A lot of the training, customs and traditions undertaken by the Air Cadets aligns with that of the RNZAF.
The ATC is one of the three corps in the NZCF, the other two being the New Zealand Cadet Corps (NZCC) and Sea Cadet Corps (SCC), commonly known as the Army Cadets and Navy Cadets respectively. We are supported in partnership between the New Zealand Defence Force (NZDF) and local communities, and our members remain civilians with no obligation to join the regular forces, however some do choose to join the New Zealand Defence Force.
If you decide to become an Air Cadet, you’ll receive all of the common training that every member of the NZCF receives, but you’ll also receive the Corps Training which is specific to the Air Cadets! You don't necessarily need to have a strong interest in aviation as Cadet Units offer a wide variety of training and experiences that are unique to the NZCF, and you will learn valuable life and work skills that will open up new possibilities, opportunities and career options. You will be part of a team, develop leadership and survival skills, make new friends, experience challenges and learn to take responsibility.
Air Cadet Units hold activities throughout the year, including outdoor and adventure training such as:
Parade Nights - Every unit holds Parade Nights weekly, approximately 3–4 hours per night during the school terms. Each parade night usually begins and ends with a parade. The starting parade follows an RNZAF format and is used to raise the RNZAF ensign, to inspect uniforms, and to inform the cadets on the parade night’s activities. The final parade is used to lower the RNZAF ensign, and to inform the cadets on upcoming events in the unit. Between the parades, the cadets undergo classroom or practical instruction.
Powered Flying - Air Cadet Units teach aviation theory as part of the parade night training, and units typically organise practical Flying Training for the cadets in partnership with local Aero Clubs. There is an annual National Aviation Course, consisting of separate Flying and Navigation courses where cadets will get to meet and fly with other Air Cadets from around New Zealand.
Gliding - As with flying, gliding training is organised by the unit in partnership with local clubs and is one of the most common activities conducted at Unit level. Gliding is a fantastic opportunity for cadets to learn the basic skills involved in aviation before they get into a powered aircraft, and the National Gliding Course is available for those who want to take their passion for flying further.
Aviation Syllabus - Cadets will learn aviation history, how engines work, aircraft technology, air navigation, air field layout, weather maps, aviation radio and more.
Bushcraft - Air Cadet Units give their cadets the opportunity to become skilled and comfortable in the bush environment. Theory lessons and scenarios are supported with camps run throughout the year, each providing new and exciting activities and skills.
Firearms Safety and Marksmanship Training - Units conduct regular firearms safety training with .22 calibre smallbore target rifles. This training also further develops self-discipline, confidence and teamwork that becomes beneficial during National and International Cadet Shooting Competitions.Cadets must pass a strict TOET (Test of Elementary Training) before being allowed on the range. Cadets can be awarded skills badges in Rifle Proficiency, First Class Shooting and Marksmanship as their shooting skills develop.
Duke of Edinburgh - All training provided by the NZCF can be cross-credited to those who are working towards their Duke of Edinburgh’s Hillary Award, with badges awarded to those who complete the Bronze, Silver or Gold Award.
On top of all this, cadets are also offered inspiring and challenging military-like experiences, access to serving men and women of the NZDF, and are invited to see behind the scenes of Air Bases, Army Camps and Navy Ships to see another side of the NZDF.
Depending on their Corps, cadets have a number of courses available to them throughout their NZCF careers. These include both leadership (promotion) courses and specific skill training courses. Units also participate in regional and national skills competitions or regattas.
Click here to learn more about the common Training Offered to every Cadet, or what Regional & National Courses are available as you progress through the NZCF.