Air Scouts

Air Scouts

infobox WorldScouting

caption =
type = section
name = Air Scout
headquarters =
country = Worldwide
f-date = 1911 (first Airman's Badge)
founder = Major Baden Fletcher Smyth Baden-Powell
members =
chiefscouttitle =
chiefscout =

Air Scouts are members of the international Scouting movement, with a particular emphasis on flying-based activities. Air Scouts follow the same basic programme as normal Scouts but certain amounts of time are spent focusing on air activities.

Air Scouts often wear a slightly different uniform from the rest of the Scouting movement.

The name is also used as a derogatory reference to members of the U.S. Air Force, typically used by combat troops of the U.S. Army and U.S. Marine Corps.


Major Baden Fletcher Smyth Baden-Powell, Robert Baden-Powell's youngest brother, was the first who brought flying-based activities into Scouting.

The 4th World Scout Jamboree in 1933 was the first international gathering where Air Scouts were represented. On August 9 Robert Baden-Powell has visited the air scouts, in the company of Pál Teleki Hungarian Chief Scout and László Almásy (known as The English Patient), who was a leader of the Hungarian air scouts. [From the book of Dr. Kubassek János: A Szahara bűvöletében - Az "Angol beteg" igaz története Almásy László hiteles életrajza (~ "Under the spell of Sahara Desert - The true story of "The English Patient", an authentic biography of Almásy László") in Hungarian, Panoráma, 1999, Budapest, Hungary]



Scouts Australia has an active Air Scouting program.


Bangladesh Scouts has a separate region for Air Scout among its 12 regions. [ [ Bangladesh Scouts organisation] ]


Air Scouting in Cyprus is an active part of the Soma Proskopon Kyproi(Cyprus Scouts Association) program.


Air Scouting in Greece is an active part of the Soma Hellinon Proskopon (Scouts of Greece) program. There is a Region for Air Scouts and approximately 57 Air Scout groups. The first was founded in 1937.

Hong Kong

History of Air Scouting in Hong Kong started in 1967 when a Jesuit priest Father Cunningham formed an Air Scout Troop in the 11th Kowloon Scout Group of Kowloon Wah Yan College during the 5-year expansion plan of the Scout Association of Hong Kong. 11th Kowloon Scout Group (Kowloon Wah Yan College) is a "closed school Scout Group' with Scout membership open only to students of this college in the Kowloon Peninsula of Hong Kong. As a result the number of Air Scouts were limited and there was only one Air Scout Unit in the territory from 1967 to 1972 without any expansion of the Air Scout numbers (as limited by the student size of the this college). In 1972 the Group added an Venture Air Scout unit when the original 1967 Air Scouts reached the age of Venture Scouts at 16.

In 1971 another aviation youth group enthusiasts went another direction and formed as the Hong Kong Air Cadet Corps (HKACC). The students of Hong Kong Wah Yan College on the Hong Kong Island(the counterpart of the Kowloon Wah Yan College on the Kowloon Peninsular) were able to participate in air activities by joining as Flight 101 of the HKACC.

In order to promote and spread the Air Scout Movement and open up the Air Scout membership and activities to all the youth of Hong Kong, in 1972, the Chief Scout of Hong Kong appointed [ Mr.Francis Yiu Cheong Chin] [] as the first Air Scout Leader of Hong Kong at the Commissioner level to develop and expand Air Scouting. Mr. Chin is a Queen's Scout, the first one in Hong kong entitled to wear the Scout Pilot's Wing, and a Leader Trainer in the Scout Leader Training Team, Headquarters, Kowloon Region of the Sout Association. Mr. Francis Chin is also a member of the well-known outstanding Hong Kong Chin Brothers [ [ the flying Chins] ] [ [ Welcome to the Flying World of the Chin Brothers! ] ] aviators with long distance flying record/achievement.

Air Scout Commissioner Francis Chin opened Air Scouting to all adult and teenage Scout members and built up a solid foundation for the promotion and expansion of the Air Scout Movement. Apart from launching progressive training course series in Air Scouting at all levels, great emphasis was placed in the training of Air Scout Leaders and Air Scout Instructors so that they can start Air Scouting on their own. Air Activity Board were set up at Headquarters and Regional levels to coordinate all Air Scout Activities and the distribution of aviation resources and flying opportunities in the territory. After training, instructors and adult leaders were able to conduct Air Scout activities and establish new Air Scout Groups. For example, the present Headquarters Air Activity Commissioner was a teenager attending Air Scout Instructor courses ran by Francis Chin in the 1970s. As a result Air Scouting spread and flourished after 1972 as new Air Scout units were established in Hong Kong.

Nowadays, most of the original Air Scout training courses set up by Francis Chin are still running annually. Notable courses are the Airman Instructor, Senior Airman Instructor and Master Airman Instructor Training Courses. Air Scouting in Hong Kong is well organised under the Programme Branch of The Scout Association of Hong Kong with 18 Air Scout Units in 5 Regions of Scout Groups in Hong Kong. All the Air Scout Units are coordinated by a Headquarters Air Activity Board attended by Air Scout Commissioners of the Scout Regions. The Headquarters Air Activity Board reports to the policy-making Headquarters Air Activity Committee of aviation professionals.

In 2007 Air Scouting in Hong Kong made another milestone when the Hong Kong Aviation Club (HKAC) commissioned Mr. Francis Yiu Cheong CHIN, Q.S., J.P.(Aus) to start an Air Scout Group under the sponsorship of HKAC. The new Air Scout Group was registered with the Scout Association of Hong Kong as the 1661 Kowloon Group of Air Scouts, with Francis Chin as the Group Scout Leader. The 1661 Kowloon Group of Air Scouts is the first Air Scout Group in the Air Scouting History of Hong Kong and Greater China with its own Qualified Flying Instructor and direct access to aircraft and flying facilities as well as opening its Air Scout membership to all the residents of Hong Kong from age 7 to 65.


Air Scouting is a branch of Scouting Ireland which combines the normal scouting activities such as camping and hiking with an interest in aviation and space.


Air Scouting (luchtscouting) in the Netherlands is an active part of the program. There are currently 15 Air Scout groups. They wear a light gray shirt.


Air Scouting (harcerskie lotnictwo) in Poland is an active part of the program. There are currently 1 Air Scout Group and 9 Air Scout Troops.

outh Africa

Air Scouting in South Africa is an active part of the South African Scout Association program. Although it has been recently neglected, since 2005 Air Scouting has really started to take to the skies, especially in Gauteng, where the first "Airjamborally" since the 1980s was held during August 2005.

There are currently 9 Air Scout groups in South Africa.

What distinguishes Air Scouts from Land Scouts, or Sea Scouts is the uniform. Air Scouts do the following badges Advanced Navigation, Air Glider, Air Mechanic, Air Meteorologist, Air Navigator, Air Spotter and Air Traffic ControllerThe Air Scout uniform is: A sky blue shirt (Short sleeve), Navy blue long pants or shorts, black socks, black shoes, the group scarf and a black beret.

Air Scouts also generally do their Air Explorer (As opposed to Sea Explorer or Explorer badge) advancement badge. The Explorer advancement badge is the last advancement badge before the Top Award (Springbok Badge). Challenge awards differ from Land and Sea Scouts. Whereas Land Scouts can obtain a Bushman's Thong and Sea Scouts the Bosun's cord, Air Scouts wear "The Airman's Cord".

The Gauteng Area Air Scouts (With 5 of the 8 Groups) is the most active and largest Air Scouting area in South Africa.


Sudanese Air Scout & Girl Guides Group is an active part of the Sudan Boy Scouts Association and Girl Guides Association of The Sudan. It was founded in 1975.

United Kingdom

British Scouts have been involved in aviation since the early days of aviation. The first UK Scout Group known to have built and flown their own glider were East Grinstead who flew for 200 feet at an altitude of 25 feet, in 1912. The first powered aircaft to be owned by UK Scouts was an Airco D.H.6 presented to 3rd Hampden (Middlesex) Scouts in 1921.

The idea of Air Scouts as a distinct unit was resisted for many years, becoming an official branch of Scouting in 1941. [ [ Scouting Milestones] ] The Scout Association bought their first glider in 1959, and operated an Air Activity Centre at Lasham, near Alton in Hampshire, until 1978. [ [ Scout Assn. Air Scout History] ]

Currently around 10% of all Scouts in the UK are in one of the 160 Air Scout Troops or Explorer Units. An Air Scout Troop can apply to become recognised with the Royal Air Force and thus can receive special opportunities and trips. This RAF Recognition is subject to a regular 18 month inspection by a designated RAF Reserve Officer. [ [ Scout Association, RAF Recognition] ] Air Scouting is also provided for within the Baden-Powell Scouts' Association.

United States of America

Air Scouts is a now-defunct program of the Boy Scouts of America (BSA). The Air Scouts program had four ranks Apprentice, Observer, Craftsman, and Ace. The Ace cloth knot and medal may still be worn by anyone who earned them before the program was dropped.

The program was established in 1941 and existed under the name Air Scouts until 1949, when it was renamed Air Explorers. With minor changes, this program lasted until 1965, when it was fully merged into the then existing Explorer program of the BSA as a specialty called 'Aviation Explorers'. It still exists today as part of the BSA's Learning for Life Explorer program.

Youth in the United States of America interested in non-profit organizations based around flying should also look into the Civil Air Patrol Cadet Program.


External links

* [ La Web de Kanguro - Air Scout Patch Collection]
* [ Air Scouts BSA 1941-1949]
* [ Air Explorers BSA 1949-1965]
* [ The Early History of Air Scouting]
* [ The Hong Kong Air Scout Movement Resource Web]
* [ Greek Air Scout Region]
* [ Irish Air Scouts ]
* [ Poland Air Scouts ]
* [ Sudanese Air Scout & Girl Guides Group]

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