Welcome to 861 (Wideopen) Squadron ATC!


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 like 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,

Flight Lieutenant  Mick Soulsby    LCGI  MInstLM  RAFAC

Well, this weekend saw 8 of our younger contingent complete their First Class Training led by Pilot Officer Mark Richardson and other staff from 861 Squadron.
This means that they essentially have completed the basic training syllabus and that they are now in a position to progress onto other training topics but also able to attend other events as well, such as Camps.
Well Done to cadets Smith, Schoeman, Kingston, Hunter, Lloyd, Flaherty, Duncan and Bewick for working hard this weekend and completing the syllabus.
Also as always my thanks go to all the staff of helped and assisted this weekend- top team.
... See MoreSee Less

View on Facebook

After a very difficult week at 861 Squadron it was great to be invited to the wedding blessing of the Squadron Padre, Rev Geoff Short and his new wife Paula.
It was a great service and fantastic turnout for them both and cadets from 861 Squadron were very proud and privileged to asked to provide an Honour Guard for the couple.
Sincere congratulations to you both from all of us at 861 Squadron .
... See MoreSee Less

View on Facebook

For the last few weeks now, some of 861 Squadron cadets have been working with Neil McCarthy at the ‘Flight Sim Centre’ in Brunswick where they have been developing their aviation skills.
They’ve been making use of the fantastic full motion facilities at the centre flying Grob Tutor and F35, even the Squadron OC had a go at landing a 737 into Newcastle Airport.... and got it down with everyone in one piece!!
Many thanks to Neil and Amanda at the Brunswick Flight Sim Centre for giving us this opportunity.
There are a couple more weeks of aviation skill training going on before we break for the Xmas period.
... See MoreSee Less

View on Facebook

Some excellent virtual reality Grob Tutor flying tonight.
Flight Sim Centre

... See MoreSee Less

View on Facebook