University of Birmingham
Air Squadron

About Us

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 Sam Baker, is in overall charge of the students.

Meet the Boss

Squadron 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 Sam Baker is the UBAS Senior Student and B Flight Commander, currently in his final year of studying Economics at the University of Birmingham. Sam is in his 3rd year with UBAS, previously being a Deputy Flight Commander.
Sam currently holds an RAF Bursary for Pilot and will start Initial Officer Training in 2021. Outside of UBAS Sam enjoys hiking, military history, and competitive paintball. Having been the president of the paintball society at the University of Birmingham in his 1st and 2nd year. Sam's favourite part of UBAS is the opportunities it gives him for travelling the world, having visited 8 countries with UBAS. Learning new skills with a fantastic group of people while preparing for a career in the RAF.