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)

As a follow up to today's great success at the Wing Swimming Competition- I am delighted to say that the following 861 Sqn cadets have been selected to represent the Wing in the Regional competition:-
Charlie McClintlock,
Holly Held, Mathew Egglestone, Lucy Denyer and Ryan Hirst.
Well Done guys- really chuffed for you and great effort...#proudofyouall.
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861 Sqn Swimming Team 2016- massive congratulations to all of you.
Well Done
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So- what a busy weekend for 861 Sqn ATC once again.
We have had 4 staff members qualify as Archery Instructors which means we can now add this activity to our seemingly endless list of things for our cadets to do. Well done to Andy Watson, Suzie Gault, Stu Climpson and Sara Allison for putting yourself through this course.
In addition to that the Sqn took part in the Wing Swimming Competition led by CI Andy Watson. Some great results there with Sgt Holly Held getting a gold in the senior girls backstroke, Cpl Egglestone a bronze in the senior butterfly, Cpl Hirst a bronze in the senior boys freestyle and the boys getting a silver in the relay- well done to all who took part and a massive congratulations to all medal winners.
Finally, WO Climpson was on parade with some cadets from the Sqn at the Battle of Britain Parade in Newcastle- as usual they did themselves and the people they were honouring proud with an immaculate turnout and parade performance.
Once again an extremely busy weekend and as usual I would like to thank all the staff who give up their valuable time and say a massive well done to all the cadets who took part in the various events.
Proud of you all.
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Parents; Tonight cadets have helped audit the squadrons 9 tents. Plan is to give our older Vaude 3 man tents a bit of a service to get a few more years out of them, replacing pegs and re proofing. Our newer Vango Banshees are still in good nick but could do with cleaning and proofing.

Any parents who can assist please let CI Watson know by emailing 861@aircadets.org
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