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 (Wideopen) Squadron has just commissioned a new banner to replace our original and aging one which was at the end of its operational life. The intention is that the old banner will be displayed at St Columba's Church, Wideopen as recognition of the close bond between St Columbas and 861 Sqn.

The new banner was paid for through a generous grant from the the Royal Air Force Charitable Trust and we are delighted to report that it is now mounted on the new pike and ready for its first outing at the 2016 Remembrance Parade in November.

Cadet Flight Sergeant Jake Tadman said: "The old Squadron banner was first commissioned in 1981 when the Squadron was first formed after being a Detached Flight to 1114 (Gosforth) Squadron. The new banner has been commissioned through funding support of the Royal Air Force Charitable Trust and it looks absolutely fantastic. It is fully embroidered (the old one was printed) and it will serve the Squadron long into the future. We are incredibly grateful to the RAF Charitable Trust for their support on this project and the new banner will be paraded for the first time in the ACOs 75th Anniversary year on Remembrance Sunday in November".
... See MoreSee Less

View on Facebook

861 (Wideopen) Squadron ATC shared Royal Air Force Air Cadets's post. ... See MoreSee Less

Thousands of cadets, staff and RAF Air Cadet supporters are attending the 75th Anniversary Flagshship Celebrations at RAF College Cranwell. Here are just a few pictures of the day so far. Read more ...

View on Facebook

Cadets from 1114 (Gosforth) Squadron, 861 (Wideopen) Squadron and 733 (Newcastle Airport) Squadron showing their support for veterans by doing the 22 push-up challenge!

We nominate the RAF Red Arrows

There are 22 vets a day that are committing suicide, and this is a small way to raise awareness for that issue.

You start tomorrow! The rules are simple:
* Once you are nominated your 22 days start the following day.
* Every day you record yourself doing 22 push-ups. Try your best to reach 22. If that means doing assisted (from your knees) push-ups or that you have to stop and take a break that's fine but try to get them all done in one video.
* Every day you must nominate a different person. Try to choose people you think will want to do this and/or have the ability to do it.
* And finally, have fun with this. This is a simple and fun way to get the word out about a matter that more people need to be aware about. These brave men and women put their lives on the line to protect our freedoms and its sad that so many veterans feel that suicide is the only way out.
... See MoreSee Less

View on Facebook

Unplanned camp photos ! ... See MoreSee Less

View on Facebook