Join Air Cadets

Information for new cadets:

We will accept any new recruits the first Wednesday night after their 12th birthday. New recruits and their parents are asked to be at Birchall Training Centre for 630pm, to complete the application form and enrolment documents. We will also make photocopies of the recruits’ birth certificate and health card. For further information, please contact the Administration Officer, Lt(N) Kerfont.

What is 517 F/Lt Graham Squadron and the Royal Canadian Air Cadets?

The Royal Canadian Air Cadets is a national organization for youth aged 12 to 18, sponsored and run by the Air Cadet League (a civilian organization) and the Department of National Defence. The organization is made up many training centres, gliding centres, and most importantly, the squadrons. Every cadet in Canada is a part of a squadron. 517 F/Lt Graham Squadron is one of over 450 Air Cadet squadrons across Canada. 517 Squadron is located on base at CFB Greenwood in Greenwood, NS.

► For more information on the Cadet program, visit the National Cadet Website if you do not live in the Greenwood area we strongly encourage you to visit the National Site to find a unit close to you.


What do Air Cadets do?

Air Cadets in 517 Squadron meet once a week on Wednesdays from 1815 (6:30 pm) to 2115 (9:30 pm) hrs at Birchall Training Centre. While there, they undergo the standard classes that are part of the Air Cadet program. The classes are in subjects such as aviation studies, citizenship, leadership, effective speaking, outdoor survival, drill, sports and more. Aside from Wednesday nights, there are many extra activities run by the Squadron.


What are some of the extra activities that 517 Squadron does?
The squadron has many year-long teams, including a brass and reed band (can’t play an instrument? we’ll teach you), drill team, a range team, and a flag party. We also have sports teams, ground school classes (a prerequisite for glider and private pilot licenses), and much more. Just take a look around the website for a better idea.


Who can join Air Cadets?
Any Canadian citizen or legal resident in good health can join as early as 12 years of age. Cadets can remain in the program until they turn 19.


How much is it going to cost me?
Air Cadets is sponsored by a civilian agency and the squadron raises its own money during the year through various fund raisers. Also the Canadian Forces provides uniforms, training facilities and instructors. Because of these factors, we are able to deliver the program completely free.


Who teaches Air Cadets?
Air Cadet instructors are often past cadets themselves. They are members of the community and hold civilian occupations in areas such as business owners, police officers, school employees, and students. Higher ranking air cadets are also instructors.


Are there summer camps?
Summer courses are a very big part of Air Cadets, and are run every year in July and August. There are many different courses ranging from 2 to 7 weeks. Cadets are not required to attend the courses, but it is highly recommended. The courses expand on the cadets knowledge from the local training program. Cadets can take everything from basic cadet courses to advanced technical training, and from leadership courses to aerospace studies, and make great friends from all over Canada in the process! Summer courses are free, and eventually an experienced cadet can apply for staff positions for summer courses, and get pay equivalent to a full-time summer job.


Can I get my pilot’s license?
Yes! Air Cadets offers two Transport Canada Pilot licenses, the Glider Pilot License (GPL) and the Private Pilot License (PPL). Scholarships are offered to air cadets in order for them to get their pilot licenses at various flight schools around the province. The licenses are free through Air Cadets (the GPL normally costs $2000, while PPL normally costs around $10 000), cadets just have to pay with their dedication and hard work in the squadron.
During the year, cadets with a glider license can fly at various cadet gliding centres around the province during weekends, and scholarships are offered to pay for continued flying when some cadets retire. Air cadets is one of the largest youth flight training programs in the world, and in fact, over 60 percent of Canada’s airline pilots got their start in Air Cadets.


Do I have to join the military?
Air Cadets are not members of the Canadian Forces, nor will they ever be asked to join. Cadets who do choose to join will have a great advantage over other applicants (many airmen and officers in the Canadian forces started off in the cadet program). However, cadets will never be required to serve with the military.


Where is 517 Squadron located?
The squadron operates on Wednesday nights at Birchall Training Centre, at CFB Greenwood. Some of the additional training is done at the AVM Morphee Centre in the same building as the Military Family Resource Centre.



How do I join?
If you decide to join, you will need to fill out and hand in an application, photocopy your provincial health card (or proof of other health insurance), and show and submit a photocopy of proof of Canadian citizenship or legal resident status (such as a birth certificate or passport).


More Questions?
If you have more questions, call us at (902) 765-1494 ext. 5586, or contact us by email at 517fltgraham at gmail dot com.