UWAS - Squadron history

The Squadron was formed, on 10 September 1963, at RAF St Athan and consisted of three Chipmunk aircraft, two Qualified Flying Instructors (QFIs) and 20 student pilots. University Air Squadrons had previously been established in Wales during the Second World War, attached to the colleges at Aberystwyth, Cardiff and Swansea, but were disbanded in 1945. By 1965, UWAS was established for 35 students, 5 chipmunks and 4 QFIs. The Squadron converted to Bulldogs in September 1974 and the aircraft establishment was increased to 6 in 1989.

In June 2000 the aircraft establishment was reduced to 4 and the Bulldogs were replaced by the more versatile and up-to-date Grob Tutor, under an aviation contract between the RAF and VT Aerospace Ltd.

In 2003, it was decided that the University Air Squadrons would also undertake responsibility for training new RAF pilots. UWAS was responsible for training 1/5 of RAF pilots receiving 5 direct Entry (DE) pilots three times a year. For this new requirement the number of QFIs was increased to 6.

However, in the Summer of 2005 the last DE course to be trained by UWAS finished EFT. In September 2005 EFT officially stopped for UAS and a new syllabus was implemented in October 2005. This saw the number of aircraft again reduced, this time to 3, and QFI strength at St Athan was reduced also to 3.

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