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Cambridge University Air Squadron

Cambridge University Air Squadron RAF
Active1 Oct 1925-present
RoleTraining, Recruitment
Part ofNo. 6 Flying Training School RAF
Garrison/HQRAF Wittering
Motto(s)Doctrinam Accingimus Alis (Latin: We equip learning with wings)[1]
EquipmentGrob Tutor T1
Lion passant and guardant in front of red book with white cross

Cambridge University Air Squadron, abbreviated CUAS, formed in 1925, is the training unit of the Royal Air Force at the University of Cambridge and forms part of the Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve. It is the oldest of 15 University Air Squadrons in the UK. For many years it was based at Cambridge Airport at Teversham.


The unit was formed in 1925 and initially operated out a runway located next to RAF Engineering school at Fen causeway in Cambridge.[2] After a brief spell at RAF Duxford,[3] the squadron moved in 1949 to a new home at Cambridge "Marshall's" or "Teversham" Airport where it remained until 1999 and its transfer away to RAF Wyton.[4] 15 years later, the squadron was moved again, to RAF Wittering.[5]

Present day

Cambridge UAS Bulldog T.1 at the unit's 1984 Summer Camp

Cambridge University Air Squadron offers basic flying training and adventure training to undergraduates and graduates and encourages members to take up a career as an officer in one of the branches of the Royal Air Force.

Student members hold the title of Officer Cadet, which carries the privileges, but not the rank, of a commissioned officer. Students may apply for an Acting Pilot Officer course in the RAF Volunteer Reserves, with four being selected per year. Officer Cadets are required to attend a minimum of one training night a week during full term, usually a lecture by a guest speaker on an aspect of the Royal Air Force, another military unit or Air Power. They are also expected to take part in two weeks of continuous training during the Long Vacation. There are also camps during all university vacations for sports and adventure training. Periods of intense flying training (PIFTs) are conducted over the Easter and Long Vacations.

CUAS is based at RAF Wittering a station which they share with the University of London Air Squadron, and is equipped with Grob Tutor T Mk 1s.[6]

The Hack Trophy

The Hack Trophy is awarded annually to the University Air Squadron for best all-round performance covering flying training, flying standards and competitions, ground school training, organisation and administration. Cambridge UAS won the trophy in 1970, 1974, 1975 (the year in which the squadron celebrated its 50th anniversary as the first-formed UAS) and 1977 (runner-up in 1976).

Commanding officers (incomplete)

  • 1934–1937 Squadron Leader John Stanley Chick
  • ?1959 - ?1962 Wg Cdr J E P Thompson
  • ?1962 - ?1965 Wg Cdr McArdle (?sp)
  • 1971–1974 Squadron Leader Dick Joyce
  • 1974–1977 Squadron Leader John Nutkins
  • 1977–1980 Squadron Leader John Kennedy
  • 1980–1982 Squadron Leader Brian Burridge
  • 1982–1985 Squadron Leader Matt Buzby
  • 2007–2009 Squadron Leader John Monahan[7]
  • 2009–2011 Squadron Leader Simon Means
  • 2011–2014 Squadron Leader Charles Kane
  • 2014 – 2021 Squadron Leader Richard Kellett
  • 2021 - 2023 Squadron Leader Mark Hammond
  • 2023 - current Squadron Leader John Rowe

Notable members


  1. ^ Pine, L.G. (1983). A dictionary of mottoes (1 ed.). London: Routledge & Kegan Paul. p. 57. ISBN 0-7100-9339X.
  2. ^ "New home for CUAS". Flight Magazine. Royal Aero Club: 630. 10 November 1949. ISSN 0015-3710.
  3. ^ Delve, Ken (2008). The military airfields of Great Britain. Ramsbury: Crowood. p. 80. ISBN 978-1-86126-995-9.
  4. ^ "CUAS - History". Archived from the original on 26 February 2018. Retrieved 26 February 2018.
  5. ^ Moore, Alex (14 April 2014). "New squadrons set for Wittering take-off". Peterborough Telegraph. Retrieved 26 February 2018.
  6. ^ Air of Authority - A History of RAF Organisation : RAF Volunteer Reserve Units Archived 16 June 2009 at the Wayback Machine at
  7. ^ Kirke, Charles, ed. (2012). Fratricide in battle : (Un)friendly fire. London, England: Continuum International. p. xvii. ISBN 978-1-4411-6164-2.
  8. ^ Harrier in 1991
  9. ^ Sandwell Evening Mail Thursday 26 September 1991, page 1
  10. ^ Cambridge Daily News Thursday 26 September 1991, page 1
  11. ^ Birmingham Mail Saturday 30 November 1991, page 1
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Cambridge University Air Squadron
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