The University of Birmingham Air Squadron, commonly known as 'UBAS',
is based at RAF Cosford in Shropshire. UBAS consists of approximately
75 students from West Midlands universities, with around 30 students
recruited each academic year. Students are RAF reservists, with the
rank of Officer Cadet.
The University Air Squadrons were created to give university students incredible experiences and the opportunity to learn valuable skills to attract students into a career as an RAF officer. Students are entitled to reservist pay for the activities they take part in, and those interested in joining the RAF are fantastically placed for application help and advice. However, there is no obligation to join the RAF after graduation, and the skills and experiences acquired will boost employability in any chosen career path.
The student body is split into four flights, A, B, C and D. Each flight has a student flight commander who holds the rank of Acting Pilot Officer (APO), and a deputy flight commander holding the Officer Cadet rank. The Senior Student, Acting Pilot Officer Tom Hawkins, is in overall charge of the students.
Meet the Boss
Leader Craig Finch is the officer commanding UBAS and has a long
military flying career mainly in helicopters. Craig started his
military flying career in the Royal Navy, flying Sea King, Gazelle and
Squirrel helicopters and qualified as an instructor. On completion of
his RN commission in 2003, he joined the RAF and flew the Puma in
Northern Ireland and Iraq before instructing on the Squirrel and
Griffin at RAF Shawbury where he was lucky enough to be chosen as the
primary instructor for Prince William, Duke of Cambridge.
A 2-times winner of the British Helicopter Championships and member of the silver medal winning British Team at the 2012 World Helicopter Championships in Russia, he commanded the Defence Helicopter Flying School Standards Sqn and the Central Flying School (Helicopter) Sqn at RAF Shawbury. In 2017, he underwent fixed wing instructor training and joined UBAS in 2019. "UBAS offers a fantastic opportunity to find out what the RAF has to offer in a safe, controlled and fun environment and we even pay you to take part! If you think you might be interested in a career with the RAF, there really is no better way to find out if it is for you."
Meet the Senior Student
Acting Pilot Officer Tom Hawkins is the current Senior Student of the
University of Birmingham Air Squadron. He studies MSc Mechanical
Engineering at the University of Wolverhampton and hopes to join the
Royal Air Force full time after he graduates.
"Being on UBAS has been the highlight of my time at university. Whether it's skiing in Austria, flying solo, raising money for charity or playing sports; UBAS has it all. The diverse, high calibre students selected to be on the squadron are what makes it so special".