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 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.

Since then we have continued to go from strength to strength. 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.

Our Squadron is 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,

Flying Officer Mick Soulsby    LCGI  MInstLM  RAFVR(T)


Tonight some of the older cadets from 861 Sqn and some from 1801 Alnwick Sqn attended a road safety presentation evening courtesy of the Mechanical Transport Section at RAF Boulmer.
This was aimed at young drivers aged primarily between 17-25.
During the evening they had the opportunity to speak with paramedics, Roads Policing Officers from Northumbria Police, members of the Institute of Advanced Motorists and they heard a very moving presentation from a guest speaker who’s son was seriously injured as a result of a road traffic collision which outlined the affects of such incidents on people known to the victim.
Finally the RAF Boulmer Fire Section and Roads Policing Unit demonstrated what happens at a collision scene where the roof of a vehicle was removed to allow injured persons to be extricated from the vehicle.
All in all a very worthy presentation and my thanks goes to RAF Boulmer for the invitation and to all members of the emergency services and other road safety organisations who attended.
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Today 4 of 861 Squadron’s cadets, Cadets Smith, Flaherty, Wilkinson and Cassidy, travel to RAF Leeming to take part in some Air Experience flying.
They all got a flight with a qualified instructor in the Grob Tutor aircraft.
For some of the cadets it was their first flight in the Grob and their first introduction to powered flight in the RAF Air Cadets.
Many thanks to Mr Wheatley from 861 Sqn for taking them there and many thanks to 11 AEF at RAF Leeming for the opportunity for them to fly.
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Like many other people all over the UK, the cadets from 861 Squadron paid their respects to the armed forces personnel past and present today.
It was great to see such a good turnout of cadets, staff and members of the public who were out in numbers within their local community.
Well done to the staff and cadets of 861 Sqn- I am immensely proud of each and everyone of you.
Thanks to Rev Short from St Columbas Church, Wideopen, Northumbria Police and members of North Tyneside council who assisted in allowing this to happen and for paying their respects at the Seaton Burn War Memorial.
Many thanks to the parents of cadets and other members of the local community for supporting your local Squadron on this important day.
We will remember them...
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It was with great pleasure, last night, having been successful in his Wing interview that FS Jake Tadman was promoted to Cadet Warrant Officer.
This is the highest rank that the cadets can reach and only then after reaching 18 years of age, having the requisite experience, being recommended by their Squadron Commanding Officer then passing an interview with the Wing Commander.
All in all really well deserved. Well Done and congratulations CWO Tadman.
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