540 Sqn’s training year closely follows the school year, running from September to June. Mandatory regular training runs every Tuesday evening at T. A. Blakelock High School, with the rest of the week full of other weekly team practices such as our band, drill teams, ground school, debating, effective speaking, sports, range team, orienteering, and more. Additionally, there are many weekend activities such as Field Training Exercises, glider familiarization flights, and sports competitions.
Tuesday regular training
Topics include drill, first-aid, instructional techniques, leadership, marksmanship, meteorology, navigation, principles of flight, survival training, and more.
As a ‘Youth Leading Youth’ program, most of the Tuesday night regular training instruction is performed by the senior cadets.
All training events are posted to our calendar.
Field Training Exercises
The squadron goes out for multiple weekend Field Training Exercises (FTXs) throughout the training year. These FTXs are conducted at Blue Springs Scout Reserve and Camp Sidrabene.
At an FTX, our cadets undergo training on topics such as: survival psychology, building shelters, range training, first aid, orienteering, radio communication, etc. They also build on their teamwork and leadership skills.
Despite having to eat military field ration packs, living in claustrophobic tents, waking up early on the weekend, and occasionally suffering through poor weather conditions, these FTXs are an incredible experience for our cadets and they come back wanting to do all over again.
Glider familiarization flights
The squadron has several dates in the fall and spring where cadets are taken for glider familiarization flights. For most cadets this is their first time in a glider and after going up once they can’t wait to do it again.
540 Sqn participates in several annual parades in the Oakville community:
- Oakville Santa Claus Parade
- Bronte Legion Remembrance Day Parade
- Oakville Legion Remembrance Day Parade
- D-Day Parade
Summer training (yes, training, this is not a YMCA-style summer camp!) is offered to select cadets based on merit. Courses are two, three, six or seven weeks long. The first course a cadet is eligible is to attend is a two week General Training course. From their second year onwards, cadets are able to choose a specialty (e.g. aviation, leadership, survival, band, physical fitness, etc.) and participate in more advanced academic training and on longer courses.
Topics covered at a summer training centre include training in leadership, instructional techniques, music, marksmanship, flying, navigation, meteorology, air traffic control, ceremonial drill, physical education, survival training, aerospace studies, citizenship. and more. Senior cadets are able to apply for full time employment as an instructor in a Staff Cadet position. Some of the most senior and selective courses to get into are the Glider Pilot Scholarship, Powered Pilot Scholarship, and International Air Cadet Exchange.
While cadets are undergoing summer training they are paid a modest training bonus allowance to supplement their needs while on base (e.g. military hair cuts). The Canadian Forces provide all transportation, meals, lodging and special equipment.
All summer training information pamphlets and joining forms can be found on the training resources page.
High school co-op credit
High school students may be able to obtain Ontario high school co-op credits by attending a cadet summer training course. This is a program offered through the Upper Canada District School Board (UCDSB) and is open to all Ontario High School students. More details about the program can be found on the UCDSB website. Students must take the initiative to register with the UCSDB themselves and complete any work required on their own time while at the Summer Training Centre.
The 540 Golden Hawks Squadron band is a brass and reed marching band composed of cadets from every training level. The band provides support for the squadron and the community during events and parades. The band strives for excellence in not only music, but in drill and discipline. Cadets are encouraged to set musical goals and achieve them through the cadet music program allowing them to acquire musician qualification levels. Cadets from any level are encouraged to join the band; however, we require prior musical experience in the instrument of choice.
The band meets on Wednesday evenings and is coached by Capt DePass and CI M. Chander with the assistance of the Drum Major WO2 Wright.
Drill without Arms Team
You think you know drill? Think again.
This is Drill Team. An elite group composed of the TOP drill cadets in the squadron. You need to be driven for perfection, have insane self-control, and perfect motor skills. Even half of a split second can mean the difference between perfection and mediocrity.
So now you know, are you up for the challenge of joining Drill Team?
The Drill without Arms Team practices on Thursdays and is coached by OCdt Chander and Mr. Samayoa with Drill Team Commander WO2 Parker.
- Drill with Arms Team
- Effective speaking
Duke of Edinburgh’s Award
The Duke of Edinburgh’s Award was founded by His Royal Highness, The Prince Philip to encourage personal development and community involvement for young people through four distinct areas: Community Service, Skill Development, Physical Fitness, and Adventurous Journey. Since its establishment in Canada in 1963, more than 350,000 young Canadians have taken the challenge which has Bronze, Silver, and Gold levels of the Award.
Cadets are entitled to wear the Duke of Ed pin which is awarded upon successful completion of each level on their uniforms, making it an easy way of saying “that cadet is above average”, since they are not commonly seen on uniforms. The best part about doing this program as a cadet is that the you are already involved in many areas of the challenge without doing anything extra!
The Duke of Ed program is offered to youth between the ages of 14 and 25, and thus cadets must be a minimum of 14 year’s old at the time of registration in the program. There is a $20 registration fee, which is not covered by the Squadron since this is a program offered outside of the regular Air Cadet training.
The staff at 540 Sqn have had extensive experience in the Duke of Ed program with Air Cadet youth and have helped over 100 cadets earn their awards. For help getting started, speak to Mr. Breithaupt or Mr. Edward. For more information about the program visit the official Duke of Ed website.
Flying scholarships / Ground School
Every year our senior cadets have the opportunity to apply for the Air Cadet Glider Power Pilot Scholarship (GPS) or Power Pilot Scholarship (PPS) programs. These programs are offered as six-week and seven-week intensive training courses over the summer. Successful candidates of the PPS have the opportunity to obtain their Transport Canada Private Pilot’s License.
Running from September through January each year, the Ground School program is provided locally at 540 Sqn to offer academic training to interested cadets who wish to compete for selection in the GPS or PPS programs. To apply for the GPS or PPS scholarships, a cadet must successfully complete Ground School and have the recommendation of the Ground School staff. In order to attend Ground School, cadets must be a minimum of 15 years of age by August 31, and have completed Level 3 in the Cadet Training Program. Cadets interested in the GPS program must be less than 6’3″ tall and weight less than 200 lbs due to physical restrictions of the gliders.
All Ground School students will be expected to have a copy of, “From the Ground Up” (FGU). The current version is the 29th version. The ISBN number for the FGU you need is: 978-0-9730036-3-5. Be certain it is the Canadian version, not the American version. They are different! Weekly assignments and exam questions will be sourced from FGU.
Here are some possible Canadian sources:
- $54.95 – Spectrum Airways (Burlington Airpark) 905-336-4010
They do not ship. Phone to confirm availability and drive to pick one up.
5342 Bell School Line Road, Burlington, ON
- $59.95 – Waterloo Wellington Flight Centre 1-877-359-9932
- $69.95 – VIP Pilot 1-800-361-1696
Ground School meets on Saturday mornings and is instructed by Mr. Breithaupt, Mr. Voermann, and Ms. Taieb.
March Break Trip
Each year 50 cadets are selected to attend the squadron march break trip. Selection is based on multiple criteria including: attendance, participation, and fundraising efforts.
Previous trips have been to the following destinations:
- 2017 – Norfolk, VA
Our cadets visited Naval Station Norfolk in Norfolk, VA, where they participated in US Navy training on damage control aboard the USS Buttercup. This US Navy base is the largest naval complex in the world. They also visited the NASA Langley Visitor Centre at the Virginia Air and Space Center and the National Museum of the Marine Corps.
- 2016 – New York, NY
Our cadets visited the Big Apple. Highlights included the 9/11 memorial museum, the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island, the Intrepid Sea, Air, and Space museum, haggling in China Town, and views from the Top of the Rock and the Empire State Building.
- 2015 – Chicago, IL
Our cadets visited the Windy City. Highlights included Millennium Park, Field Museum, Shedd Aquarium, Adler Planeterium, and a visit to the top of the Willis (Sears) Tower – the 2nd tallest building in North America.
- 2014 – Washington, DC & Annapolis, MD
Our cadets visited the Smithsonian, the Pentagon, Arlington National Cemetery, the US Naval Academy, and much more.
- 2013 – Boston, MA
Our cadets visited the USS Constitution, the world’s oldest commissioned naval vessel that is still in use, as well visiting Harvard University and the location of the Salem Witch Trials.
- 2012 – Norfolk, VA
Our cadets visited Naval Station Norfolk in Norfolk, VA. This US Navy base is the largest naval complex in the world. They also visited Marine Corps Base Quantico and the National Museum of the Marine Corps.
Algonquin Canoe Trip
At the end of August, 15 cadets are chosen to go to Algonquin for a 5-6 day canoe trip. Completely detached from civilization and technology, the cadets spend the week canoeing and portaging through the park and sleeping in camp sites along the edges of its lakes.