Northern Ireland Universities Air Squadron


NIUAS, formed in November 2015 some 20 years after the Queen’s University Air Squadron was disbanded, is the most recently appointed of the 15 University Air Squadron’s. 

The aim of NIUAS is to help you consider the opportunities a RAF career can provide, whilst enabling you to become a better individual.   

You will have opportunities to sample the working environment and, through the provision of leadership and personal skills training, you will be equipped with transferrable skills for a civilian or Service career going forward.  Joining the UAS does not commit you to joining the RAF.


NIUAS operates out of Aldergrove Flying Station, located by Belfast International Airport and from 2019 onward, the Squadron will also operate once-a-month from RFCA HQ in central Belfast. 

The NIUAS activities model is delivered via four classifications as follows:

Flying training in the Grob Tutor aircraft from qualified military flying instructors. The culmination of this training offering basic Air Experience through to the potential to ‘fly solo’.

Adventurous Training covers a wide range of challenging physical activities including mountain biking, canoeing, rock climbing, skiing and many more.  NIUAS members will get plenty of opportunity to participate in these activities with the added opportunity to develop individual and team skills by leading the organisation and assisting with delivery.

Personal fitness is an important aspect to UAS membership and NIUAS members will engage in a wide range of events including cycling, football and hockey.  Sport is an integral part of our squadron calendar with training throughout the year culminating in the 15 UAS’s gathering to have the Annual Festival of Sport Competition.

Force Development covers a range of activities that constitute the military skills part of our training.  Much of the training provided is in the form of field exercises in which leadership skills are the major focus.  Such skills include military ethos, conduct and etiquette, first aid, field craft and related education on current and historic military events.


We anticipate recruiting around 25 students each year from both Queens’ and Ulster Universities.  NIUAS attends their Freshers Fairs giving prospective students the opportunity to discuss the requirements for joining.  Selection to the next stage is dependent on pre-selection fitness trial and command tasks followed by an Interview, a basic medical and security check.  If you were interested in joining, but were unable to attend the Freshers Fair, we will also have a full Information Evening at your University; alternatively, you can contact NIUAS directly on the email or numbers listed below. 

Weekly training

Weekly Training Nights take place during term time with transport provided from your University location to Aldergrove HQ (Return).  The content of the training nights encompasses presentations, current affairs debates, discussions as well as the activities model listed above.



NIUAS appointed members initial commitment is for 2 years, with the potential for extension.  Members are attested as a RAF Volunteer Reserve (UAS) and are required to pass a Fitness Test appropriate to their age and gender.  The Fitness Test includes a Running Bleep Test, press-ups, sit-ups and a swim test, but members are afforded ample time to meet the required standards.  Membership of the UAS is a significant extra-curricular activity which will require members to carefully balance academic work against UAS commitments.


NIUAS members will be entitled to receive up to 35 days attendance pay for time spent undergoing NIUAS regulated training.  This training payment is authorised to cover Training Night attendance, training activity attendance and selected flying training.  Additionally, members will have the provision to work towards qualifying for an annual training bounty.


2015  Stand-Up of Northern Ireland Universities’ Air Squadron with 8 students and 2 staff.

2016  Official Launch and Recruiting Campaign - Membership increased to 25 and 2 staff.

2017  Membership increased to nearly 30 and staff increased to 4.

2018  Pilot OC NIUAS appointed; Membership increased to 32 and staff increased to 6.

Contact details

If you would like to find out more about NIUAS, or enquire about joining the Squadron, please contact us as follows:

Aldergrove Flying Station
Killead Road
Co Antrim
BT29 4EL

Phone: 02894 – 455242, 455365, 455362 or 455363 

Email: [email protected]