Welcome to 861 (Wideopen) Squadron ATC!861_crest_small

We are a voluntary youth organisation based on and supported by the Royal Air Force offering a huge range of activities and opportunities to young people aged 12-20 years.

Our cadets have the chance to get involved in a huge range of exciting activities such as powered flying and gliding, the Duke of Edinburgh Award Scheme, target shooting and fieldcraft to name but a few.

If you are 12-18 years old and you think you would enjoy doing a range of activities as flying, gliding,shooting, adventure training, as well as gaining a variety of new skills and qualifications, all whilst enjoying new experiences and meeting new people, then the Air Cadets is for you!

From the Squadron Commander


861 (Wideopen) Squadron was selected as the Durham/Northumberland Wing representative for the Sir Alan Lees Trophy competition in 2014 and again in 2015.  In the 2015 competition, the Squadron won the North Region competition and was identified as the top performing ATC Squadron in the North of England!  There are around 1,000 Squadrons in the UK so this puts our Squadron in the top 0.6% of all Squadrons nationally which is an amazing achievement.

My continuing aim for the Squadron is to deliver a rounded experience for all of our young people – this means that we don’t just specialise in a single activity area, we do everything from adventure training, to sports, to flying and gliding, to target shooting and much much more.  Therefore, we are an extremely busy and active Squadron which offers maximum opportunities to our cadets – which is why we have been identified as the best in North Region in 2015.

Our Squadron is well extremely well resourced – our new Squadron HQ was completed in 2010 and is a fantastic place to run a Squadron from.  We have two Squadron Owned Vehicles, a minibus and a support van, which enables us to move large numbers of cadets around for activities as well as their equipment.  We have have a large Adult Staff team who have wide ranging qualifications which means that we are able to be quite independent and the vast majority of our training is delivered by our own staff rather than relying on other Squadrons for support.

We are supported by the Royal Air Force which means that our cadets enjoy piloting aircraft and gliders as well as visiting bases around the world!

Please take a look around our website to see what we have been up to and what opportunities are available to you. Alternatively, pop along to the Squadron on any Monday or Thursday evening – you can find us here.

If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact us.

Kind Regards,

Flight Lieutenant James Elliott MSc BA RAFVR(T)

861 held its annual Awards Night on 23rd May 2016 which was extremely successful with lots of smiling happy faces at the end of the night!

In attendance were all of the cadets, Adult Staff as well as parents/carers/guardians of cadets. Col Varn Jassal and Wg Cdr Harry Lowe attended the event as our honoured guests from North of England RFCA to present the awards to the cadets throughout the evening and deliver a short speech to the guests.

Recipients of awards included:

Best Sports Cadet – Female – Cpl Lucy Denyer
Best Sports Cadet – Male – Cpl Tom Waters
Academic Achievement – Cpl Elaine Newton
Cup for Endeavour – Cdt McKenzie Cooper
Smartest Cadet – Cdt Matthew Eggleston
Best NCO – Cpl Elaine Newton
Best Cadet – Cdt Daniel Elsom
Officer Commanding’s Commendation – FS Jake Tadman

A number of cadets were also promoted during the evening:

Cdt Matthew Eggleston to Corporal
Cdt Ryan Hirst to Corporal
Cdt Craig Gilchrist to Corporal
Cpl Elaine Newton to Sergeant
Cpl Holly Held to Sergeant
Cpl Tom Waters to Sergeant
Sgt Billy Lead to Flight Sergeant

Well done to all of those who received awards and promotions!
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1114 Gosforth Squadron - Air Cadets and 861 run regular joint sports nights every month - couple of photos from the last activity :) ... See MoreSee Less

1114 Gosforth Squadron - Air Cadets' Inter-Squadron Sports - May 2016

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Just a quick reminder that the 861 (Wideopen) Squadron awards night and Civilian Committee AGM is taking place tomorrow night on Monday 23rd May 2016 at St Columba's Church, Wideopen from 7.30pm.

Colonel Varn Jassal who is the Chairman of the North of England RFCA Cadets Committee will be joining us to present the awards to our outstanding cadets.

All parents/guardians/carers are more than welcome - please come and join us to celebrate our cadets successes and find out more about 861 Squadron!

Following the awards, guests are invited to join us for some light refreshments and to meet the Squadrons Adult Staff and Civilian Committee teams.

All welcome - the more the merrier!
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Couple of photos from some Sqn-based fieldcraft training last night 👍 ... See MoreSee Less

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