Southampton University Air Squadron

Southampton University Air Squadron

Infobox Military Unit
unit_name= Southampton University Air Squadron

start_date= 15 February 1941
country= United Kingdom
allegiance= The Crown
size= 80 personnel
6 aircraft
command_structure= Royal Air Force
garrison= MOD Boscombe Down
nickname= SUAS
motto= "Fortibus Ardua Cedunt"
latin:"Adversity Yields to the Bold"
Commander= Squadron Leader Rae
Commander_label= OC SUAS

aircraft_trainer= Tutor

Southampton University Air Squadron (SUAS IPA: /su'æs/) is a training unit of the Royal Air Force which provides basic flying training, adventurous training and personal development skills to undergraduate students of the University of Southampton [ [ University of Southampton MEng] "-" Key Facts] , University of Portsmouth and Bournemouth University. The idea behind all University Air Squadrons is to allow potential RAF officers to experience life in service and to allow them to decide whether they are suited to it. There is no obligation to join up, unless a bursary is successfully applied for.SUAS is parented by MoD Boscombe Down [ [ Boscombe Down HiVE] "-" Boscombe Down's Units] where it flies Tutor aircraft. SUAS Town Headquarters (THQ) is in Southampton City Centre.

Training nights are held on Thursday evenings at SUAS THQ, and are compulsory for Officer Cadets. Christmas, Easter and Summer Training periods, each of a week long are held at Boscombe Down to further the development of members through flying, adventurous training and force development.

Affiliated Units

SUAS parents 2 Air Experience Flight which has the use of its aircraft to allow local cadet units the chance to experience flying. [ [ RAF VR units] "-" 2 AEF]


Students follow the Elementary Flying Syllabus which teaches them everything from the basics of flight to more advanced navigation exercises. Students that perform particularly well are able to progress to the Advanced Flying Syllabus and learn formation flying, aerobatics, and navigation skills. Each student is officially allocated 10 hours of flying training each year, but keen flyers are often able to exceed this amount.

The flying aspect of the SUAS is overseen by the Commanding Officer (OC SUAS) and the Chief Flying Instructor (CFI), both of which are RAF Qualified Flying Instructors (QFI). Additional Instructors are often available on Training Periods.

All flying is based at MoD Boscombe Down where the Grob Tutor is used as the instructional aircraft.

Adventurous Training

SUAS participates in many forms of adventurous training, including climbing, canoeing, kayaking, mountaineering, sailing and mountain biking. The squadron's Ground Training Instructor (GTI) facilitates many of the above activities, but most activities and exercises are organised by students - either individually, or in small committees.

SUAS relies heavily on student instructors for adventurous training. Qualifications can be gained by attending a Joint Services Adventure Training (JSAT) course [ [ JSAT Courses] ] , which is usually free. Students attending will be taught the necessary techniques for successful and safe instruction in their chosen discipline.

Ten Tors

Every year since 1990, SUAS has entered a 6 person team for the Ten Tors [ [ Ten Tors Website] "-" Status, X2412] 55 Mile Route.

Training starts in the February of each year and progressively becomes more intensive right up until the event itself. This extensive training programme gives the team an impressive advantage over rivals on the moor, and while the event is in no way a competition, SUAS aims to be the first 55 mile team to cross the finishing line each year.

Attributing to the success of the team is the large support, from staff and students alike, that the squadron fields every year on the moor.


The annual Skiing Expedition is also a popular event on the squadron calendar. Members of staff accompany the students each year to participate in skiing and other activities in the French Alps.


Students can join SUAS in any year at university and usually stay for two years, provided their attitude and commitment are good. Students from the Universities of Southampton, Portsmouth and Bournemouth and other higher education establishments around Southampton may apply to join, but due to time and personnel constraints, SUAS only attends the listed universities' Fresher's Fairs. Students who are deemed an asset may be invited to continue their careers with SUAS and stay for a further year, subject to them remaining in university and remaining committed to the squadron.To join, simply attend a Fresher's Fair at your university and talk to one of the students. After completing the joining process a successful student would be attested and become a member of the Volunteer Reserve.


Once attested, students have to pass a medical and a fitness test. It's a good idea for anyone to work on their fitness whatever they do, but especially so if they wish to join SUAS. Aim for at least a 9.10 on the bleep test, 20 press ups and 35 sit ups. While these are the minimum standards for joining, more enjoyment of SUAS, and of life, will result if you are fitter.


Anyone who wishes to gain a bursary before or after joining SUAS (or any other air squadron) should go to the RAF website [ [ RAF Careers] ] . Before one joins, one can go to a careers office and ask about joining as an officer. One can get a bursary during one's upper sixth year [ [ Sixth Form Sponsorship] ] . One can also get a bursary if one's intention is to be a pilot [ [ Pilot] ] or RAF Regiment [ [ Regiment Officer] ] , Fighter Control [ [ Fighter Control] ] , Air Traffic Control [ [ Air Traffic Control] ] , Engineer [ [ Engineer Officer] ] or Medical/Dental [ [ Medical Officer] ] officer.Medical/Dental bursars may apply for a cadetship during the second year of their degree. If successful they will receive a salary of £12,000/yr and the rank of Pilot Officer [ [ Medical Officer] ] . Bursaries are either £1,000 per year for pilot, £2,000 for other branches and £4,000 for Engineer Officers.The application process will take you through an interview at a career office if you apply outside, and will take you through the selection process at the OASC.Successful applicants will be expected to be an example on the squadron and must join the RAF on completion of their degrees.


While SUAS is operated informally, there is a command structure. With the Commanding Officer (OC SUAS) at the top, he is supported by an Adjutant who assists with paperwork and often accompanies the students on adventurous training. The adjutant is supported by two office staff at the squadron's town headquarters.The students have a Senior Student, usually an Acting Pilot Officer (APO) who is essentially in charge of the student body, and aside from the extra commitment organising activities, he or she acts as a liaison to the permanent staff. The Senior Student is supported by a Flight Commander (Air) and Flight Commander (Ground), again APOs, who oversee the students participation at the airfield and on other aspects respectively.There is a Mess Secretary who oversees the Mess Committee (below).They are assisted by an executive committee which is chosen from the student body each year. Positions include Adventurous Training representative (rep), Tri-Service rep, Sports rep, Computing and Information Systems rep, Charity and PR (Public Relations) rep, Force Development rep and Entertainments rep.A Mess Committee is also elected each year, positions include Shop, House and Libraries and Digital Media.The above roles serve the function of allowing SUAS to efficiently organise events and activities in a disciplined manner.

See Also

*Officers Training Corps (OTC) - organisational counterpart in the British Army
*University Royal Naval Unit (URNU) - organisational counterpart in the Royal Navy


External links

* [ SUAS - Southampton UAS website]
* [ RAF - University Air Squadrons]
* [ RAF Careers]
* [ UGSAS - Universities of Glasgow and Strathclyde Air Squadron]
* [ BUAS - Bristol UAS]
* [ CUAS - Cambridge UAS]
* [ EMUAS - East Midlands UAS]
* [ ESUAS - East Scotland UAS]
* [ UBAS - University of Birmingham Air Squadron]
* [ LUAS - Liverpool UAS]
* [ MASUAS - Manchester and Salford UAS]
* [ ULAS - University of London Air Squadron]
* [ OUAS - Oxford UAS]
* [ UWAS - Wales UAS]
* [ YUAS - Yorkshire UAS]

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