The University of London Air Squadron (ULAS) was formed in September 1935. The members then were not members of the Volunteer Reserve as they are now, but could join the Reserve if they wished. Uniform as such was not worn but the Regular Dress of the unit members was a navy blue blazer with a badge on the pocket and grey flannel trousers. Flying kit was overalls and armbands. White overalls were introduced in 1938. The RAF provided the aircraft and instructors, and ground crews for maintenance and servicing. When ULAS was formed the Squadron Town Headquarters (THQ) was located in Imperial College, Exhibition Road, London. In 1948 THQ moved to 48, Prince's Gardens, and in November 1966 to Brompton Road on a site which was formerly the Brompton Road Underground Station, and before that 'The Gladstone Arms'.
Flying Headquarters (FHQ) from 1935 was at RAF Northolt and Summer Camps were held at Halton, Duxford and Thorney Island before the war. The aircraft flown was the Avro 504N but in 1936 the Squadron was re-equipped with the Avro Tutor and later the Hawker Hart.The Squadron was disbanded in 1939 on the outbreak of war but was reformed in April 1941 as an initial training unit for students who had volunteered for aircrew duties. To cater for the increase in numbers ULAS had three squadrons: Number 1 Squadron was based at Kensington, Number 2 at Holloway and Number 3 at Twickenham.The contribution of the Squadron to the Royal Air Force in wartime was considerable. Although no exact records exist for this period it is known that, of 150 pre-war members, 42 were killed in action and altogether the Squadron members were awarded 4 DSOs, 2 MBEs and 19 DFCs (one with bar).
In 1945 the Squadron reverted to its original role, the flying element reforming at Biggin Hill with Tiger Moths on 28 February 1946. In subsequent years FHQ moved to Fairoaks in 1947, Booker 1950, Kenley 1954, Biggin Hill 1957 and White Waltham in 1959. In August 1973 due to increasing air traffic at Heathrow, FHQ moved to RAF Abingdon and on 30 June 1992 moved to RAF Benson. The Squadron moved to its current home, RAF Wyton, in 1999.
During the moves of FHQ, aircraft also changed. The Tiger Moths were replaced by Chipmunks in 1950, and in 1973 the Squadron was the first to re-equip with the Scottish Aviation Bulldog. In November 1999 the Squadron converted to the German-built Grob G-115E, called the Tutor in RAF service. Markings on Squadron aircraft originally included the badge of the University of London. On 5 May 1951 ULAS was presented with its own approved badge by Air Vice Marshal FHM Maynard, who had been the Squadron's first Commanding Officer in 1935.
The motto of the Squadron is "Learn by Degrees".