Royal Canadian Air Cadets

The Royal Canadian Air Cadets is a Canadian national youth program for young individuals aged 12 to 19. Under the authority of the National Defence Act, the program is administered by the Canadian Forces and funded through the Department of National Defence. Additional support is provided by the civilian Air Cadet League of Canada. Together with the Royal Canadian Sea Cadets and Royal Canadian Army Cadets, it forms the "largest federally funded youth program in the country". Cadets are not members of the military and are not obliged to join the Canadian Forces.
The first squadrons were established in 1941 to train young men for duties during World War II. The purpose has since changed to focus on citizenship, leadership, physical fitness, general aviation and stimulating an interest in the activities of the Canadian Forces.
The majority of cadet training takes place at the local squadron during the regular school year, with a percentage of cadets selected for summer training courses at various cadet summer training centres located across Canada. Central to the air cadet program are the gliding and flying scholarships offered to air cadets who qualify. One in five private pilots in Canada is an ex-air cadet, and 67% of commercial and airline pilots began their careers as an air cadet. There are 454 squadrons located across the country with enrollment of over 26,000 Air Cadets.


The aim of the Cadet Program is to develop in youth the attributes of good citizenship and leadership; promote physical fitness; and stimulate the interest of youth in the sea, land, and air activities of the Canadian Forces; however, each focuses on its own parent element. The Air Cadet motto is "To learn. To serve. To advance.", and was created by Robert Myles Colwell in 1966 when he was a cadet with 625 Squadron in Perth-Andover, NB.
Persons aged 12 to 18 may join the Air Cadet Program. The organization and rank system of the pre-unification Royal Canadian Air Force is used with one additional rank - Flight Corporal - equating to an Army Cadet Master Corporal or a Sea Cadet Master Seaman. Cadets are not members of the Canadian Forces and cadets have no power of command over any CF member. Adult leadership is provided by members of the Canadian Forces Reserve Subcomponent Cadet Organizations Administration and Training Service composed mostly of officers of the Cadet Instructors Cadre Branch, supplemented, if necessary, by contracted Civilian Instructors, authorized adult volunteers, and, on occasion, officers and non-commissioned members of other CF branches. The CIC Branch is specifically trained to deliver the Royal Canadian Sea, Army, and Air Cadet training program, and like all reservists come from all walks of life and all parts of the community. Some are former cadets, many have former regular or reserve force service.
Along with the Royal Canadian Sea Cadets and Royal Canadian Army Cadets, they form the Canadian Cadet Organizations. Though the cadet programs have a close relationship with the CF, cadets are not members of the Forces, and are not expected or required to join the Canadian Forces. In keeping with Commonwealth custom, the Royal Canadian Air Cadets stand last in the order of precedence, after the Royal Canadian Sea and Army Cadets.
The Canadian Cadet Movement is sponsored by the CF/DND and the civilian Air Cadet League, along with the Navy League and Army Cadet League. Each cadet unit is supported by a local Squadron Sponsoring Committee responsible to the National League through each of the Provincial Committees. The basic Air Cadet program is provided at no cost, including uniforms and activities. Most Air Cadet squadrons are sponsored by a local service organization or club such as a Royal Canadian Legion Branch, Royal Canadian Air Force Association Wing, Rotary Club, Lions Club, or a locally established committee. The local civilian sponsors must raise money to provide for accommodation, utilities, liability insurance, local awards, and additional training resources or special activities, such as mess dinners, band instruments or squadron excursions and trips, not funded by the CF/DND. Cadets and their parents are encouraged to participate in fund-raising activities.


The Air Cadet Organization originated in the early days of World War II when the war effort required young men to meet Canada's military obligations.
By 1938 there existed a couple of groups that would help promote such an effort. In Winnipeg, Manitoba this was the Winnipeg Air Cadets launched by Albert Bennett. Other such group existed in St. Catharines, ON. and in Penhold, AB.
Prior to 1940, official Air Cadet squadrons did not exist. However, in 1939 Alan Duncan Bell-Irving and A.W. Carter formed the 1601 Air Force Cadet Wing in Vancouver. This Squadron was operated directly by the Department of National Defense in association with the 111 Squadron of the RCAF, which was stationed in Vancouver at the time. A.W. Carter became the first commanding officer of the 1601 Wing until he was called to Ottawa to assist in the formation of the new Air Cadet League of Canada. After the formation of the Air Cadet League of Canada the 1601 Wing was chartered to the League and became 111 Vancouver Squadron. The 111 Air Cadet Squadron still exists and parades at Bessborough Armoury in Vancouver under the name 111 Pegasus Squadron.
In 1940, Air Minister Power directed that a nationwide voluntary organization be formed to sponsor and develop a select group of young men who would be trained to meet the increasing need for operational pilots in the Royal Canadian Air Force during World War II.
On November 11, 1940, an Order-in-Council was passed to establish the Air Cadet League of Canada to work in partnership with the RCAF. The first squadrons were organized in 1941 and by 1942 there were 135 squadrons and 10,000 cadets, mostly recruited from the Army Cadets. By 1943, there were 315 squadrons with a membership of 23,000. In 1944, the program reached its peak membership with 29,000 cadets in 374 squadrons.
The first uniform the Air Cadets used were hand me down uniforms from the Pre War era RCAF. It consisted of a blue/gray wool uniform; cap, pants and a full collar tunic. This was phased out in 1943 with an open collar variation similar to the war time RCAF enlisted man's tunic. After the war the air cadet organization received more hand me down uniforms from the RCAF before adopting the battle dress style uniform.
After the war, membership dropped to a low of 11,000 in 155 squadrons and the Air Cadet program underwent a transformation to reflect the changing needs of Canada and the cadets. The Air Cadet League introduced awards for proficiency and loyalty to the squadrons, summer courses were offered at RCAF stations, and a flying scholarship course was developed. To date, more than 15,000 cadets have received their private pilot licence through the scholarship course. Training shifted to be focused on the development of citizenship and an interest in aviation. Interest was renewed; by 1961, 332 squadrons were in existence and in 1972, authority was given for membership of up to 28,000 cadets.
In areas where there was a high interest in air cadets, additional squadrons were established with different parade nights to accommodate the numbers. These squadrons were often placed into air cadet wings with a separate wing HQ staff of both officers and senior cadets overseeing the operation. The system was discontinued in the late 1960s and all squadrons became independent once again.
From the early days senior air cadets were given opportunities to work in staff positions beside officers, certain contracted civilians and RCAF/CF members at summer camps across Canada. A system was developed where senior cadets aged 16 or older were temporarily enrolled in the RCAF/CF on short term contracts and given the rank of Acting Corporal. They were referred to as Call-out Corporals. The Senior Leaders Course at Cold Lake later even used the CF rank of Acting Master Corporal among its staff of Call-out Corporals. Later the system was abolished and the "staff cadet" program selected senior cadets for advanced training who were appointed as staff cadets to assist the adult leadership.
With the unification of the Royal Canadian Navy, the Canadian Army and the Royal Canadian Air Force in 1968, the Canadian Forces became the Air Cadet League's military partner in the delivery of air cadet training. In 1975, legislation was changed to officially allow the enrolment of female cadets into the Royal Canadian Sea, Army, and Air Cadets. The "battle dress" style woolen air force blue uniform was changed to a CF rifle green safari style uniform. The style and weight were more suited to the indoor and summer training reality of the program. The first of these was issued to cadet squadrons commencing in 1978. A new embellished brass cap badge was issued and air cadet wings were worn on the left brest rather than the right. When the CF went back to separate uniform colours in the mid-1980s, cadets followed again with a new air force blue cadet uniform being issued but following the same style as the outgoing green uniform. Squadrons received these new uniforms commencing in the fall of 1992.
Today, the Royal Canadian Air Cadets has a membership of approximately 23,000 in 456 squadrons; and together with the Royal Canadian Sea Cadets and Royal Canadian Army Cadets, forms the "largest federally funded youth program in the country". The membership has also diversified, becoming gender balanced and attracting and retaining visible minorities.

Local training

Each squadron trains one night per week—a "parade night"—to undertake the local training program. The course of instruction is prescribed by the Director of Cadets and outlined in course training plans distributed to each squadron. The four-year program provides cadets instruction in citizenship, leadership, survival training, instructional techniques, drill and ceremonial and the basics of aviation and aeronautics. In the fifth and subsequent years, cadets may be assigned to instruct these classes to the younger cadets. The local training begins in September and continues until June.
In addition to the mandatory weekly training syllabus, there are additional regularly scheduled activities that cadets can participate in optional training that includes band, firearms safety and marksmanship using the 10 metre air rifle for both training and competition, biathlon, military drill practice, first aid training and competitions, and ground school instruction in preparation for gliding and flying scholarship courses. Many of these activities also involve regional, provincial, or national competitions between teams and individual cadets.
Throughout the year there are weekend exercises organized by the local squadrons. Survival exercises, participation in Remembrance Day ceremonies, and familiarization flights are all common activities. Cadet squadrons participate in community events such as parades and band concerts.

Cadet Program Update – Squadron program

Beginning with the 2008/2009 training year, a new training system was introduced replacing the program that was in use since 1992. The Cadet Program Update brings new teaching materials and incorporates more contemporary educational and youth development methods. Similar updates to the Sea and Army Cadet programs rationalize the connectivity between the three programs and more efficiently provides the training that is common to all three elements.
The cornerstone of the CPU is the recognition that people between the ages of 12-18 pass through three basic "Developmental Periods". These DPs mark the development of their cognitive abilities from a purely experienced-based method of learning to abstract problem-solving and competency. The training methods used at each training level reflect the target age group of the cadets in that training level.
The delivery of the various performance objectives will be through a mixture of mandatory and complementary enabling objectives. The mandatory EOs will be the same for all air cadet squadrons. Individual squadrons may choose from a number of complementary EOs to support the mandatory training. The selection of complementary training activities at a local squadron is based on the local resources and the interests of the cadets involved.
The program will be phased in one year at a time with the new proficiency level 5 being introduced for the 2012/2013 training year. Cadets already undergoing training in the current system will complete their training under the outgoing system.

Squadron training levels

Air Cadets are challenged to qualify to five training levels. Each level is normally completed in the ten-month training period from September to June. With the approval of the commanding officer, cadets 14 years of age and older may complete levels 1 and 2 in a single training year. Success in meeting the required standard is rewarded with the appropriate level qualification badge. In Level Four cadets learn to instruct so that when they reach Level Five, they are ready to teach other cadets. The chart below displays the training level structure of the Royal Canadian Air Cadets.
Level One Level Two Level Three
To achieve Level One a cadet must satisfactorily complete the following first year performance objectives:
  • PO 101 – Citizenship
  • PO 102 – Community Service
  • PO 103 – Leadership
  • PO 104 – Personal Fitness and Healthy Living
  • PO 105 – Recreational Sports
  • PO 106 – Air Rifle Marksmanship
  • PO 107 – General Cadet Knowledge
  • PO 108 – Drill
  • PO 120 – Canadian Forces Familiarization
  • PO 121 – Canadian Aviation, Aerospace and Aerodrome Operations Community Familiarization
  • PO 129 – Radio Communication
  • PO 130 – Aviation Activities
  • PO 140 – Aerospace Activities
  • PO 160 – Aerodrome Operations Activities
  • PO 190 – Aircrew Survival
  • Positive Social Relations for Youth
To achieve Level Two a cadet must satisfactorily complete the following second year performance objectives:
  • PO 201 – Citizenship
  • PO 202 – Community Service
  • PO 203 – Leadership
  • PO 204 – Personal Fitness and Healthy Living
  • PO 205 – Recreational Sports
  • PO 206 – Air Rifle Marksmanship
  • PO 207 – General Cadet Knowledge
  • PO 208 – Drill
  • PO C211 – Biathlon
  • PO 230 – Aviation History
  • PO 231 – Principles of Flight
  • PO 232 – Propulsion
  • PO 240 – Aerospace
  • PO 260 – Aerodrome Operations
  • PO 270 – Aircraft Manufacturing and Maintenance
  • PO 290 – Aircrew Survival
  • Positive Social Relations for Youth
  • To achieve Level Three a cadet must satisfactorily complete the following third year performance objectives
  • PO 301 – Citizenship
  • PO 302 – Community Service
  • PO 303 – Leadership
  • PO 304 – Personal Fitness and Healthy Living
  • PO 305 – Recreational Sports
  • PO 306 – Air Rifle Marksmanship
  • PO 307 – General Cadet Knowledge
  • PO 308 – Drill
  • PO 309 – Instructional Techniques
  • PO 311 – Biathlon
  • PO 320 – Canadian Forces Familiarization
  • PO 331 – Principles of Flight
  • PO 336 – Meteorology
  • PO 337 – Air Navigation
  • PO 340 – Aerospace
  • PO 360 – Aerodrome Operations
  • PO 370 – Aircraft Manufacturing and Maintenance
  • PO 390 – Aircrew Survival
  • Positive Social Relations for Youth
  • Summer training

    Courses offered at Air Cadet summer camps include training in leadership, flying, fitness and sports, survival, military band, pipe band, aerospace, aviation technology, and marksmanship. The courses offered include familiarization, basic, advanced, and national summer training courses.
    ;Familiarization courses
    The only familiarization course is the one-week-long General Training course. It provides cadets with an introduction to camp life and outlines the various fields of interest in the Air Cadet Program.
    ;Basic courses
    The basic courses deliver training directed more specifically towards certain specialities. All of these courses are three weeks long, and are available to cadets who are level two or above. The Basic Drill & Ceremonial course prepares cadets to fill the role of a peer leader while building on their knowledge and skills in leadership, drill and ceremonial. The Basic Survival course introduces cadets to elementary survival skills and encourages them to pursue specialist training in this area of interest. Basic Aviation introduces cadets to the fundamentals of aviation and provides incentive to pursue specialist training in this area. Basic Fitness and Sports course prepares cadets to serve as an assistant sports instructor while developing personal habits to maintain a good fitness and healthy living. The Basic Aviation Technology and Aerospace course introduces cadets to the fundamentals of the aerospace industry, of airfield operations and the construction and maintenance of aircraft. The Basic Musician course develops cadets' competence in music and prepare them to support their local military or pipe band.
    ;Advanced courses
    The advanced courses provides cadets with the knowledge required to become instructors of their speciality. Advanced Aviation Course increases cadets' knowledge and skills of the field of aviation and provides incentive to pursue specialist training in this area. Drill And Ceremonial Instructor Course develops cadets to become a specialist with the skills and subject matter knowledge required to be an instructor and team leader for drill and ceremonial activities. Survival Instructor Course develops cadets to become a specialist with the skills and subject matter knowledge required to be an instructor and team leader for aircrew survival activities within the Air Cadet Program. Fitness Sports Instructor Course develops cadets to become a specialist with the skills and subject matter knowledge required to perform the role of a fitness and sports instructor and team leader for fitness and sports activities conducted at the squadron, during regionally directed activities and / or as a Staff Cadet at a CSTC. Air Rifle Marksmanship Instructor Course provides cadets with the opportunity to develop coaching and marksmanship skills necessary to support the squadron marksmanship program and biathlon programs. It also introduces cadets to advanced marksmanship skills. Intermediate and advanced musician courses increases cadets' musical skills and advances them to the next level of musical qualification, with some instructional techniques relating to music.
    ;National courses
    There are seven national courses in the air cadet summer training program. Oshkosh Trip is a two-week trip to Oshkosh, Wisconsin, home to EAA AirVenture Oshkosh. The International Air Cadet Exchange is a three-week exchange that allow cadets to visit air bases, centres of industry, world landmarks, universities, cultural centres and museums, and experience private hospitality with families in their own homes. It is intended for outstanding senior cadets who will represent Canada with distinction. Other national courses include Advanced Aerospace, Advanced Aviation Technology Courses – Airport Operations and Advanced Aviation Technology Courses – Aircraft Maintenance.
    ;Aviation national courses
    ;Glider Pilot Scholarship Program
    The Glider Pilot Scholarship program is a seven-week course with an intensive programme of ground school and in-flight glider pilot training. For a cadet to be eligible, cadets must write an entrance exam at their local squadron, and once passed, Candidates will be interviewed through the Merit review board. Candidates must be 16 or older of age by September 1 of the summer training year. Once selected, cadets who successfully complete their flight test and Transport Canada written exam will qualify for a glider pilot licence and be awarded Air Cadet Glider Pilot Wings.The program is also responsible for producing the largest number of glider pilots within Canada. On average, the program produces 320 glider pilots annually. Upon attaining their licences, these pilots join their local headquarters to provide other cadets with glider familiarization flying during the spring and fall seasons.
    ;Power Pilot Scholarship Program
    The Power Pilot Scholarship program is a seven-week course that allows cadets to get their private pilot licence and their Air Cadet Power Pilot Wings. A goal for many cadets within the program is to secure a private pilot licence prior to the age of 19. Cadets who are aged 17–18 apply and are selected to write an exam and interview for the prestigious scholarship. The course provides cadets with both ground school training and in-flight instruction at the various flight centres across Canada. Cadets who have been successful within the program have integrated themselves with commercial airlines, the Canadian Forces, various courier and charter companies, and have also gone on to become instructors at various flight schools. Overall, this opportunity to attain a private pilots’ licence remains as one of the most prestigious and attractive opportunities available within the Air Cadet program.
    After successfully completing a summer course, cadets are presented with a qualification badge to display on their uniform. The badges may be seen on the website.

    Cadet Training Centres (CTCs)

    The cadet training centres of the Royal Canadian Air Cadets are distributed across Canada, often co-located with a Canadian Forces base. Here are the following CTCs used for air cadets:
    Albert Head Cadet Training CentreCFB Esquimalt, BCPacific1995English
    Bagotville Cadet Training CentreCFB Bagotville, QuebecEastern1969Bilingual
    Blackdown Cadet Training CentreCFB Borden, OntarioCentralEnglish
    Cold Lake Cadet Training CentreCFB Cold Lake, ABPrairie1973English
    Connaught Cadet Training CentreOttawa, OntarioCentralBilingual
    Greenwood Cadet Training CentreCFB Greenwood, NSAtlantic1951English
    Rocky Mountain Cadet Training Centre Canmore, ABPrairieEnglish
    Trenton Cadet Training Centre CFB Trenton, OntarioCentralEnglish
    Valcartier Cadet Training Centre CFB Valcartier, QuebecEastern1968French
    Vernon Cadet Training Centre Vernon, BCPacific1949English
    Whitehorse Cadet Training Centre Whitehorse, YKNorthern1984English
    HMCS Acadia Cadet Training Centre CFB Cornwallis, NSAtlantic1956English
    HMCS Quadra Cadet Training Centre CFB Comox, BCPacific1956English
    Mont St-Sacrement Cadet Music Training CentreSaint-Gabriel-de-Valcartier, QCEastern1982Bilingual
    Debert Cadet Flying Training CentreDebert, NSAtlantic1985English
    Mountainview Cadet Flying Training CentreCFB Trenton, OntarioCentralEnglish
    St-Jean Cadet Flying Training CentreSaint-Jean-sur-Richelieu, QuebecEastern1975Bilingual
    Comox Cadet Flying Training CentreCFB Comox, BCPacificEnglish
    Gimli Cadet Flying Training CentreGimli, MBPrairieEnglish

    Summer training courses (2012)

    As of the transition to the new program in the 2012/2013 training year, the summer training courses varies from year to year.
    * A prerequisite for the Power Pilot Scholarship is that cadets must be 17 years old before 1 September of the year of the course.

    ** A prerequisite for the Glider Pilot Scholarship is that cadets must be 16 years old before 1 September of the year of the course.

    *** The Oshkosh trip has been suspended until further notice.
    **** A prerequisite for being a part of the International Air Cadet Exchange is that cadets must be 17 years old before 1 August of the year of the course.

    ***** A prerequisite for Staff cadet is that they have to be minimum 16 years of age on the first day of their advanced training period.

    ****** BLC Basic Leadership has been changed to BDCC Basic Drill and Ceremonial Course, LCIC Leadership Ceremonial Instructor Course has been changed to, DCIC Drill and Ceremonial Instructor Course.


    Throughout the spring and fall approximately 22,000 air cadets participate in familiarization gliding at regional gliding centres located across the country.
    Each summer, 320 cadets earn a Transport Canada Glider Pilot Licence through the Air Cadet Gliding Scholarship and 250 more earn a Private Pilot licence.
    The Air Cadet Gliding Program conducts approximately 60,000 glider flights annually in Schweizer SGS 2-33 gliders.
    The aircraft fleet used in the gliding program is owned by the Air Cadet League of Canada. The fleet, consisting of more than 100 gliders and tow planes is maintained by the Canadian Forces under a memorandum of understanding. Canadian Forces pilots and Civilian Instructors operate the fleet to train cadets. The aircraft that are used during the Power Pilot Scholarship are various, and they depend on the flight school the cadet is posted at during their course. The Power Pilot Scholarship is operated by private flight schools, and the instructors are not affiliated with the cadet program. The aircraft can be a Cessna 152, Cessna 150, Cessna 172, or DA20 Katana.


    Schweizer SGS 2-33AGliderSchweizer AircraftUnited States
    Cessna L-19 SuperdogTow PlaneCessnaUnited States
    Cessna 182Tow PlaneCessnaUnited States
    Bellanca ScoutTow PlaneBellancaUnited States


    Uniforms are provided at no charge. Cadets are responsible for care, cleaning and custody of the issued kit and also to return it when ceasing to be a cadet. The uniform includes: wedge, wide-brimmed tan summer hat, toque, rank slip-ons, short-sleeved shirt, necktie, T-shirt, turtleneck sweater, jacket, jacket belt, trousers, trousers belt, all-season jacket, boots, grey wool socks, running shoes, grey sports shorts, and blue sports T-shirt.
    Cadets in uniform shall be well groomed with footwear cleaned and shone. Their uniform shall be clean and properly pressed at all times. In particular, buttons, fasteners and zippers shall be kept closed. Hair must be of natural colour.
    For male cadets, hair should not touch the ears or have excessive length or bulk on the head. At the top of the back of the neck, hair will either be evenly tapered or be clean cut. Moustaches are authorized but must conform to dress regulations. Beards are not authorized except for religious or medical reasons and, when authorized, must conform to dress standards. Otherwise, male cadets must be clean shaven.
    For females, short hair must be neat and may not extend past the bottom of the collar, while long hair must be pulled back into a tight bun, and may be contained by a hairnet. Very long hair may be braided or worn as a bun. Hair elastics, bobby pins and hairnets should be the same colour as the cadet's hair. When braided the cadets hair may be worn in either double or single French braids and in both cases the braids must fall behind the shoulders and not extend past the bottom of the armpit.
    Different numbered orders of dress are worn on different occasions. Here are the numbered orders of dress:
    Upon enrollment, a new cadet in the Air Cadet Program is known as a "Cadet". Appointment to higher ranks occurs after the cadet has met certain nationally prescribed standards. The specific criteria for all ranks are established to ensure that all cadets who receive a rank promotion possess the same basic qualifications or similar experience, the successful completion of squadron training serves as the common standard on which all cadets are evaluated, and that every cadet is given the same opportunity to advance.
    Because there is a maximum number of established positions for ranks warrant officer first class, promotions are based on the results of a merit review board. The composition of the merit review board includes a minimum of three to a maximum of five members. As appointed by the squadron commanding officer, members include: Commanding officer acting as board chairperson; Air Cadet League or local sponsor representative; and a minimum of one and maximum of three additional members from the following: representative of the RCSU CO, squadron CIC officer, and member of the community. Prior to 1976, the size of the squadron dictated the top rank available and many squadrons were ineligible to carry a WO1 on their establishment effectively capping promotion at WO2 for the squadron's ranking cadet.
    Responsibilities are given to cadets upon reaching Flight Corporal, the first NCO rank. In September 2007, the rank of "flight corporal" was introduced. The badge is similar to the insignia of a flight sergeant incorporating a crown above two chevrons. The new rank brought the rank progression for the sea, army, and air cadet programs into line. Flight corporals and corporals generally assist a more senior cadet, such as a flight sergeant who leads a flight. Sergeants are responsible for most of the day-to-day activities of the squadron and assist the flight sergeants as second in command of a flight. Warrant officers work closely with the officer staff of the squadron, assisting with administration, logistical, leadership, and training. In smaller squadrons, these roles may be filled by more junior cadets.
    The official phrasing for the ranks uses the word cadet as a preface — as an example, cadet corporal. However, custom omits cadet in casual reference. Thus, corporal is the usual wording. Generally, where there is a need to distinguish between cadets and Canadian Forces members, ranks will be written or spoken as cadet corporal and abbreviated as C/Cpl.
    While it is customary within the organization to refer to a cadet receiving a rank as being "promoted," the official documentation vary: the senior document describing progression as an "appointment", the other describing progression as "promotion".
    The chart displays the rank structure of the Royal Canadian Air Cadets.

    Music appointments

    When a squadron wishes to create a cadet band, the decision to do so must be made in consultation with the sponsoring committee responsible for provision and maintenance of musical instruments. The cadet music program recognizes two types of bands: military bands and pipe bands. Military bands' instrumentation includes woodwinds, brass, and/or percussion, while pipe bands' instrumentation includes pipes and drums. The Regional Support Cadet Unit should provide instruments on loan to their squadrons to maximize the use of the instruments held by the region and CSTCs and to better support squadron training. The music proficiency levels are recognized on the cadet uniform using a system of badges based on the music training programs; the military band badge represents a lyre, while the pipe band badge represents either a pipe or a drum, depending on the instrument played.
    The appointment of a Drum Major or Pipe Major is at the discretion of the corps/squadron CO. Requirements considered include: demonstration of skills and knowledge in band drill, commands and formations, qualification of Music Proficiency Level 2, and holds the minimum rank of Flight Corporal. Only one cadet may be appointed as the squadron Drum Major or Pipe Major at any time.
    Drum MajorPipe Major

    • Appointed at the discretion of the Squadron Commanding Officer
    • Demonstrates skills and knowledge in band drill, commands and formations
    • Qualified Music Proficiency Level 2
    • Holds the minimum rank of Flight Corporal
    • Badge is removed when cadet no longer fills the appointment
    • Worn on lower sleeve..
    • Only one cadet in a squadron can be appointed Drum Major

    • Appointed at the discretion of the Squadron Commanding Officer
    • Demonstrates skills and knowledge in band drill, commands and formations
    • Qualified Music Proficiency Level 2
    • Holds the minimum rank of Flight Corporal
    • Badge is removed when cadet no longer fills the appointment
    • Worn on lower sleeve.
    • Only one cadet in a squadron can be appointed Pipe Major

    Honours and awards

    The Canadian Cadet Movement maintains its own Honours and Awards system. Cadets may be awarded these based on criteria including bravery, citizenship, service, outstanding performance on a summer training course, and more. In addition, cadets may also wear, on their uniform, any orders, decorations, and medals of Canada they have been awarded.
    Within the system, there are several honours and awards common to all three cadet elements and some that are unique to each. A cadet who transfers from one element to another may continue to wear any medals awarded from their previous service, but in general, air cadets may be eligible for the following nine honours and awards, and are in the order of precedence:
    Cadet Medal for BraveryAwarded for acts of bravery in hazardous circumstances. It is also given in recognition of outstanding deed of valour, involving risk of his or her life, in attempting to save the life or property of another person.
    Lord Strathcona MedalAwarded for recognition of exemplary performance in physical and military training.
    Royal Canadian Legion Cadet Medal of ExcellenceRecognizes individual endeavours of a citizenship nature which meet or enhance the aims and objectives of the cadet organizations.
    Colonel Robert Perron AwardPresented annually to the Cadet who attains the highest physical fitness test score.
    Air Force Association of Canada MedalAwarded for excellence demonstrated on the Glider Pilot Scholarship and the Power Pilot Scholarship. One medal shall be awarded to the top cadet, male or female, on both the GPS and the PPS at each of the five Cadet Flying Training Centres.
    Army, Navy and Air Force Veterans in Canada Cadet Medal of MeritAwarded at each CTC to the top cadet, male or female, for each of the following summer courses:
    • Advanced Aviation Technology Course – Airport Operations
    • Advanced Aviation Technology Course – Aircraft Maintenance
    • Advanced Aerospace Course
    • Drill and Ceremonial Instructor Course
    • Fitness and Sports Instructor Course
    • Survival Instructor Course
    • Air Rifle Marksmanship Instructor Course
    • Military Band - Intermediate Musician Course
    • Military Band - Advanced Musician Course
    • Pipe Band - Intermediate Musician Course
    • Pipe Band - Advanced Musician Course
    Order of St. George MedalAwarded to the top Staff Cadet at each CSTC.
    Air Cadet Service MedalRecognizes all air cadets who have completed four years of honourable service with no serious infractions. Single bars are awarded for each additional year.
    Cadet Certificate of CommendationAwarded for outstanding deeds in attempting to save the life or property of another person. This award is not part of the order of precedence.



    In some squadrons, the ensign and squadron banner are carried by a flag party with the Flag of Canada, despite CF custom being for one- or two-flag parties only. Subject to regional regulations, flag party escorts may carry deactivated drill purpose rifles.
    The Royal Canadian Air Cadets Banner is flown only on important ceremonial occasions to indicate the presence of a formed body of cadets, and, at the end of useful life, is deposited, after the manner of colours, in some suitable location. The banner was presented in 1991 at the Senior Leaders Course at CFB Cold Lake, and was paraded at the Senior Leaders Course graduation parades each summer until the course was replaced with the Leadership and Ceremonial Instructor Course. Though not consecrated, the flag parallels Air Force Command Colours and is carried in the same manner. Cadets pay compliments to the banner in a similar manner to a consecrated colour. Members of the CF are not required to pay compliments to the banner but may do so as a courtesy.
    Originally approved in 1941, the Royal Canadian Air Cadets Ensign was modified in 1971 to incorporate the National Flag in the canton. The flag parallels a Canadian Forces command flag. The ensign is normally flown at the squadron and often carried as part of a flag party. It is always flown from a mast or pole at air cadet summer training centres.
    The squadron banner parallels an Air Force Squadron Standard and is carried by squadrons as their specific unit identifier. Unlike a squadron standard, however, an air cadet squadron banner may not be consecrated nor can they emblazoned with battle honours. Though squadron banners may not be consecrated they may, be dedicated and may be laid up in a manner paralleling similar ceremonies for squadron standards. Compliments are paid to the squadron banner in the same manner as the Air Cadet Banner.
    The squadron's name and number are embroidered on the banner. The Air Cadet League did for a brief period allow the acquisition of squadron banners featuring the individual squadron's badge in place of standard design. It is unclear, should any of these banners require replacement, if anything other than the standard design will be authorized.


    The badge of the Royal Canadian Air Cadets consists of a circlet surrounded by a wreath of maple leaves, superimposed with a flying falcon, the head to the sinister. The whole is crowned by the Royal crown — fashioned as a St Edward's Crown — to symbolise the monarchy of Canada as the Cadets' source of authority. This all rests on a scroll displaying the words "Royal Canadian Air Cadets/Cadets de l'aviation royale du Canada".
    It is worn as a brass or embroidered badge on the left side of the wedge cap and other formal headdress, and as an embroidered patch on the all-weather jacket. The original hat badge featured an eagle surmounted by a single maple leaf, with two underlying scrolls reading "Air Cadets Canada".

    Cadet Fitness Assessment and Incentive Program

    The Cadet Fitness Assessment and Incentive Program replaced the old fitness testing program in the 2010-2011 training year. It is based on the FITNESSGRAM testing protocol produced by the Cooper Institute.

    Fitness assessment

    Component AssessedTesting ExerciseNotes
    Cardiovascular Endurance20-m Shuttle Run Test/PACERTakes approximately 15 minutes to conduct including explanation and running. Requires PACER CD track and 20m of space to run.
    Muscular StrengthPush-upsDone to a cadence of 20 reps/min. Requires CD track or other 20 reps/min cadence.
    Muscular StrengthCurl-upsDone to a cadence of 20 reps/min. Requires CD track or other 20 reps/min cadence. May also require mats.
    Muscular FlexibilityBack Saver Sit and ReachRequires a sturdy box and a ruler.
    Muscular FlexibilityShoulder StretchDoes not require any equipment.

    Incentive program

    There are four incentive levels cadets can achieve upon doing the fitness assessment: bronze, silver, gold, and excellence. Scoring of the cadet depends on the age and gender of the cadet. Each test in the fitness assessment is scored as follows:
    20-m Shuttle Run TestNumber of laps completed in time with the bleeps on the CD.Refer to for individual achievement levels.
    Push-upsNumber of push-ups completed in time with the cadence on the CD.Refer to for individual achievement levels.
    Curl-upsNumber of curl-ups completed in time with the cadence on the CD.Refer to for individual achievement levels.
    Back Saver Sit and ReachCentimetres reached.Refer to for individual achievement levels.
    Shoulder StretchYes or no.If the cadet can touch on both sides, the achievement level is Excellent. If the cadet can touch on one or neither side, the achievement level is Nil.

    Using incentive level standards, each of the 5 or 6 tests is awarded an achievement level. The minimum achievement level reached of all 5 components is awarded; only the highest two of the three flexibility tests is used in determining the achievement levels for the Flexibility component.
    There are four badges that can be awarded by a squadron for the fitness exam. Bronze, Silver, Gold, and Excellence.

    Notable former air cadets