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 Marcus Baker, is in overall charge of the students.

Meet the Boss

Squadron Leader Colin Massy joined the Royal Air Force in 2002 and has mainly flown helicopters throughout his career. He has qualified on a wide variety of types and conducted operations in the Search and Rescue, Support Helicopter and Attack Helicopter roles. He is also an A2 Qualified Helicopter instructor (QHI) a nd has taught Advanced Rotary Wing Training on the Bell 412 Griffin at the Defence Helicopter Flying School. Following introduction of the Military Flying Training System (MFTS), he formed part of the initial tranche of QHIs converting other instructors onto the new Juno HT1 at RAF Shawbury.

After being promoted to Squadron Leader, he conducted tours as Executive Officer of 905 Expeditionary Air Wing in the Falkland Islands, and an exchange with the Royal Canadian Air Force as Chief of Combat Plans Division for the Canadian NORAD Region/1 Canadian Air Division. During this tour he was awarded a 2-Star General’s Commendation for outstanding service to the Command.

“The University of Birmingham Air Squadron offers a fun way to learn more about the RAF in a memorable and safe environment, while also presenting excellent opportunities to build on important life skills. The experiences our students are offered at UBAS stay with them for life and provide invaluable insight into a Service career. Not only does this help students make an informed decision about a potential future in the RAF, but they also have a great time along the way.”

Meet the Senior Student

Acting Pilot Officer Marcus Baker is the current UBAS Senior Student and A Flight Commander. He is currently in his final year, studying Aerospace Systems Engineering at Coventry University. Marcus is in his 4th year on Squadron previously being a Flight Commander and Deputy Flight Commander previous to that. He currently is targeting joining as an (AS) Engineer Officer on completion of his degree.

Outside of UBAS Marcus is a keen Badminton player who has played for his School and University teams. He is a keen videographer and produces videos for UBAS and his own personal enjoyment. Marcus enjoys adventurous activities such as skiing, rock climbing and motorsports.

Marcus most enjoys the adventurous training activities that UBAS offers at home and abroad, visiting several different countries to undertake the training. The camaraderie that is borne out of this type of training shows what an amazing group of people can achieve together whilst gaining new skills and preparing for an RAF career.