Air Scouts

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Air Scout
Country Worldwide
Founded 1911 (first Airman's Badge)
Founder Major Baden Fletcher Smyth Baden-Powell

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Air Scouts are members of the international Scouting movement, and as with Sea Scouts, Air Scouts are primarily Scouts with a particular emphasis on aviation-based activities and themes.

They often follow the same basic programme and training as normal Scouts but additionally certain amounts of time are spent focusing on a wide variety of potential air activities that may form part of their local training/programme.

In many countries, Air Scout Groups / Troops are often associated with an Air Force station, a Gliding or Aero Club, where expert instructors are available, and there is suitable facilities and support to assist in any specialised training using standard scouting methodology - i.e 'learning by doing'.

In some countries, such as the Netherlands, it is even possible for a normal Scout Group to have one or more Air Scout Patrols to meet the needs of their young people. If there is enough Air Scout patrols then they may also form an additional Air Scout Troop within the Group.

After basic training the Scouts are given a good deal of specialist knowledge which may lead to them being awarded special skills or interest badges, and helps to stimulate an interest in air activities when they are older.

Many Air Scouts often wear a slightly different variant of their respective standard Scouting movement's uniform or additional uniform badges.


Major Baden Fletcher Smyth Baden-Powell, Robert Baden-Powell's youngest brother, was the first who brought flying-based activities into Scouting.

The 4th World Scout Jamboree in 1933 was the first international gathering where Air Scouts were represented and who gave a number of flying demonstrations at the Jamboree. On August 9 Robert Baden-Powell visited the Air Scout contingents, in the company of Pál Teleki Hungarian Chief Scout and László Almásy (known as The English Patient), who was a leader of the Hungarian Air Scouts.

Another famous pioneering glider pilot and who was Austrian Air Scout Rover Leader at that Jamboree was Robert Kronfeld - who in the 1920/30's was an Austrian Gliding Champion and who made the record books as the 1st pilot to fly across the English Channel in a glider. [1]

Air Scout Leaders

Many leaders of Air Scout Groups are often aviation enthusiasts or practicioners, or may be existing or retired Air Force members or Pilots or Aviation Instructors who are willing to pass their experience on to the Scouts. Of course they still receive standard and advanced Leadership training - like the Woodbadge.

Official Aviation Support

In many countries, logistical or other official support may be provided by the respective countries National Civil Aero Organisation or National Air Forces in providing meeting rooms, access to specialist equipment or other such support.

Some countries even provide a national recognition scheme for those who achieve agreed standards with the Air Scouts in the UK and Brunei as examples.

However in most countries, such support is more likely to be on a fairly local level from enthusiastic members of the wider aviation community supporting local Scout Groups/Troops.

Air Scouts Worldwide


Scouts Australia has an active Air Scouting program. The Air Scouts in Western Australia offer a wide range of both flying and ground based activities. The air activities include flights in light aircraft, helicopters, gliders and hot air balloons. Some members who like to "live on the edge" have gone parachuting and have taken aerobatic flights. Ground based activities include visits to airports and air museums, radio controlled model flight, aero modelling and camping on airfields. Organisations such as the Flying Doctor Service, Police Air Wing and the RAC Rescue helicopter assist greatly in air activities. Scouts have progressed to taking flying lessons. One of the most commonly enjoyed days out by Groups is the tour of Jandakot Airport. There are two Air Scout Groups, these are the Bullsbrook and Morley Groups.

In the Australian Capital Territory of Canberra can be found the ACT Air Scout Group.

Quite a few of the Australian Territories have a designated Scout Air Activities Centre providing a wide variety of aeronautical based courses, camps and other events. These include


Bangladesh Scouts has an Air Scouts programme and is a branch of Scouting aimed at their Rover Scout section. Organisationally Bangladesh Scouts has a separate region for Air Scouts among its 11 administrative regions.

The only known open Air Rover Units in Bangladesh is the TigerShark Open Scout Group which meets at the BAF Shaheen College, Dhaka and the Rovers of the Samatat Open Scout Group also located in Dhaka.

All Scouting sections in Bangladesh follow the same programme for their section but those Scout Groups with an Air Rover Scouts section then add a aeronautical flavour to the programme and activities.

Many Units meet more than once a week in the summer period and the additional meetings are used to develop aeronautical skills and airmanship training. It is not training for an Air Force career, although Air Scout training can be very useful for young people who are so interested.


Only one Group exists, which is hosted by a Belgian Paragliding Club.


In March 2014 members of the newly formed 160th Barbados Deighton Griffiths Air Scout Troop where invested by the Chief Commissioner of the Barbados Boy Scout Association at the Barbados Concorde Experience. These are the only Air Scouts in Barbados.[1][2]


Brazilian Scouting - União dos Escoteiros do Brasil - has a very active and vibrant Air Scouting program for its Air Scouts (Escoteiros do Ar) known in Portuguese as "Modalidade do Ar". [5]

The first Air Scout Group was started in Brazil in 1938, and hosted by the 5th Army Aviation Regiment in Curitiba, PR which currently operates the Integrated Air Defense and Air Traffic Control Centre. The original founding was initiated by the Army Aviator - Lt. Col Vasco Alves Secco who founded the Air Scout Group 'Captain Richard Kirk'.

Subsequently recognising the value of Air Scouting, the Brazilian Ministry of Aviation has issued decrees to all it's units to provide support to Air Scout Groups at all it's bases, as needed.

Besides the standard activities of Scouting, Air Scouts in Brazil have additional air activities and learn suitable technical aviation related skills.

Currently, the National Coordinator is the Scout Chief Fábio Augusto Giunti Ribeiro

Some known Air Scout Groups in Brasil


Egyptian Federation for Scouts and Girl Guides is structured into 4 central associations - Scouts, Sea Scouts, Air Scouts and Guides. The Air Scouts section headed is by the Commissioner for Air Scouts - Mohamed Abdel-Hamid.

Each of these four central associations has a corresponding regional association in the 26 governates of Egypt; a coordination committee in each governorate organizes the activities and the cooperation between the associations.

The first Air Scouts in Egypt where formed early in 1954, and in the same year the executive committee of the Air Scouts was formed and held its first meeting in the office of the Director-General of the Egyptian Civil Aviation Authority on 17/2/1954.

The most currently active Egyptian Air Scout regions are:

  • Air Scouting Association - Helwan
  • Air Scouting Association - Red Sea
  • Air Scouting Association - Northern Sinai
  • Air Scouting Association - Ismailia
  • Air Scouting Association - Cairo
  • Air Scouting Association - Qena
  • Air Scouting Association - Central Eastern

In Jan 2007 the 1st Air Scout Festival was held in Ismalia.


Scouts de l'air started in the north of France in the mid 1930's. The first documented French Air Scout camp was held at Saint Cyr, 25 August - 1 September 1935. After the 2nd World War it was restarted by a few groups and at the 1947 Peace Jamboree many full-sized gliders built by various Air Scouts where shown to participants [2] [3] and demonstrated as well as activities such as aeromodelling

Currently the only French Air Scouts are from independant associations.

An Aero Club in SE France that works a lot with French Scout Troops in the region.


Air Scouting in Greece is an active part of the Soma Hellinon Proskopon (Scouts of Greece) with a vibrant aviation programme and they are organised into their own Administrative Region [4] with approximately 57 Air Scout Groups currently established. The first of these Air Scout Groups was founded in 1937. The Greek word for Air Scouts is Aeroproskopoi.

As in many other countries, Greek Air Scouts add aviation subjects knowledge to their traditional Scouting activities and skills.

Hong Kong

There are also Air Scouts in The Scout Association of Hong Kong. For example the 11th Kowloon Group Venture Air Scout Unit[5] and the 11th Air Scout Troop in Kowloon.

Air Scouting in Hong Kong started in 1967 when a Jesuit priest Father Cunningham formed an Air Scout Troop in the 11th Kowloon Scout Group of Kowloon Wah Yan College during the 5-year expansion plan of the Scout Association of Hong Kong. 11th Kowloon Scout Group (Kowloon Wah Yan College) is a "closed school Scout Group' with Scout membership open only to students of this college in the Kowloon Peninsula of Hong Kong. As a result the number of Air Scouts were limited and there was only one Air Scout Unit in the territory from 1967 to 1972 without any expansion of the Air Scout numbers (as limited by the student size of the this college). In 1972 the Group added an Venture Air Scout unit when the original 1967 Air Scouts reached the age of Venture Scouts at 16.

In order to promote and spread the Air Scout Movement and open up the Air Scout membership and activities to all the youth of Hong Kong, in 1972, the Chief Scout of Hong Kong appointed [ Mr.Francis Yiu Cheong Chin][2] as the first Air Scout Leader of Hong Kong at the Commissioner level to develop and expand Air Scouting. Mr. Chin is a Queen's Scout, the first one in Hong kong entitled to wear the Scout Pilot's Wing, and a Leader Trainer in the Scout Leader Training Team, Headquarters, Kowloon Region of the Sout Association.

Mr. Francis Chin is also a member of the well-known outstanding Hong Kong Chin Brothers aviators with the long distance flying record of successfully completed “The First 100-HP Single Engine England to Hong Kong Long Distance Cross-Country Flight in History”.

Nowadays, most of the original Air Scout training courses set up by Francis Chin are still running annually. Notable courses are the Airman Instructor, Senior Airman Instructor and Master Airman Instructor Training Courses. Air Scouting in Hong Kong is well organised under the Programme Branch of The Scout Association of Hong Kong with 18 Air Scout Units in 5 Regions of Scout Groups in Hong Kong. All the Air Scout Units are coordinated by a Headquarters Air Activity Board attended by Air Scout Commissioners of the Scout Regions. The Headquarters Air Activity Board reports to the policy-making Headquarters Air Activity Committee of aviation professionals.

In 2007 Air Scouting in Hong Kong made another milestone when the Hong Kong Aviation Club (HKAC) commissioned Mr. Francis Yiu Cheong CHIN, Q.S., J.P.(Aus), upon his return from overseas after retirement, to start an Air Scout Group under the sponsorship of HKAC. The new Air Scout Group officially registered with the Scout Association of Hong Kong as the 1661 Kowloon Group of Air Scouts, with Francis Chin as the Group Scout Leader.

The 1661 Kowloon Group of Air Scouts is the first Air Scout Group in the Air Scouting History of Hong Kong and Greater China with its own Qualified Flying Instructor and direct access to aircraft and flying facilities as well as opening its Air Scout membership to all the residents of Hong Kong from age 7.

On 20 July 2007 the Chief Commissioner of Hong Kong, after hearing Mr. Francis Chin's return to Hong Kong, again appointed him to be the Chairman of the Air Activity Committee at Headquarters level to lead the operation and future development of the Air Scout Movement in Hong Kong. Under Francis Chin's chairmanship, recent development and progress included the resumption of experience flying for all Scouts and Leaders through the Scout Flyer Programme ( asssisted by the Government Flying Service and the HK Aviation Club) and the Young Eagle Programme (conducted by the Hong Kong Aviation Club), the provision of Ground School Scholarship to leaders and air scouts, the establishment of the Flight Simulator Instructor Training Programme, the introduction of aircraft modelling and competitions, the proposed extension of air activities to all sections of Scouting from Grasshoppers (<age 7) to Rover Scouts (>age 18), the accredition of air scout training by university courses, as well as the Fly Scout Fly Project aiming to providing venue and facilities for leaders and age appropriate Scout members to expand their wings.

As a qualified flying Instructor, Mr. Francis Chin has also offered to teach leaders and commissioners flying so as to help them to get the Scout Pilot's Wing. It is envisaged that the Air Scouting Movement in Hong Kong will open a new chapter in the 21st Century when the Scouts in Hong Kong finding that the sky is no longer their limit.


Since the formation of Scouting Ireland from the 2 main previous Scouting Associations in Ireland, the seperate Air Scouts branch has been turned into a generic Air Scouting support to provide greater access to Irish Scouts.


Air Scouting (Harcerskie Lotnictwo) in the Poland is an active part of the program. There are currently 11 Air Scout groups/troops and some Scouting clubs that practise specific air sports such as ballooning or parachuting.

South Africa

Air Scouting in South Africa is an active part of the South African Scout Association program. Although it has been recently neglected, since 2005 Air Scouting has really started to take to the skies, especially in Gauteng, where the first Airjamborally since the 1980s was held during August 2005.

There are currently 8 Air Scout groups in South Africa:

What distinguishes Air Scouts from Land Scouts, or Sea Scouts is the uniform. Air Scouts do the following badges Advanced Navigation, Air Glider, Air Mechanic, Air Meteorologist, Air Navigator, Air Spotter and Air Traffic Controller The Air Scout uniform is: A sky blue shirt (Short sleeve), Navy blue long pants or shorts, black socks, black shoes, the group scarf and a black beret.

Air Scouts also generally do their Air Explorer (As opposed to Sea Explorer or Explorer badge) advancement badge. The Explorer advancement badge is the last advancement badge before the Top Award (Springbok Badge). Challenge awards differ from Land and Sea Scouts. Whereas Land Scouts can obtain a Bushman's Thong and Sea Scouts the Bosun's cord, Air Scouts wear The Airman's Cord.

The Gauteng Area Air Scouts (With 5 of the 8 Groups) is the most active and largest Air Scouting area in South Africa.


A number of Air Scout Groups existed in Spain in the 1970's and 19080's but then went into decline at that time. Recently in the last few years two new Air Scout Groups have now started operating. They are both members of ASDE Scouts de España.


Sudanese Air Scout & Girl Guides is a part of the Sudan Boy Scouts Association and The Sudan Girl Guides Association. The Regional Director for the World Scout Bureau - Arab Regional Office, Dr. Atif Abdelmageed has been instrumental in establishing Air Scouting in Sudan.

The first full Air Scout Group was inaugurated on 21 May 1967, with a total of 6 Air Scout & Guide Groups (SAS&GGG) now being active. In 1975 a Air Scout & Guide Branch of Sudanese Scouting was established by Isam Kamel & Alladeen Hassan Abas as part of the National Aviation Institute. In 1976, they transfered the Air Scout activities to the Sudanese Air Scout club in Nile Street, Khartoum. Sudanese Air Scout members attend local scouting activities, in addition to activities organized outside of the Sudan, such as Arab & International Jamborees. Also, Sudanese Air Scouts send some members to study in the Czech Republic.

Sudanese Air Scouts & Guides train to be able to assist in delivering humanitarian aid & relief.

Trinidad & Tobago

One Group is known to exist there - 2nd Guaico Air Scouts

United Kingdom

Air Scouting in the UK started in the 1930's and became an official branch of Scouting in 1941. The early history of Air Scouting can be found here. Currently around 10% of all Scouts in the UK are in one of the 160 Air Scout Troops or Explorer Units.

An Air Scout Troop can apply to become recognised with the Royal Air Force and thus can receive special opportunities and trips. This RAF Recognition is subject to a regular 18 month inspection by a designated RAF Reserve Officer.

Some of the larger Air Scout Groups in the UK are:

United States of America

Air Scouts is a now-defunct program of the Boy Scouts of America (BSA). The Air Scouts program had four ranks Apprentice, Observer, Craftsman, and Ace. The Ace cloth knot and medal may still be worn by anyone who earned them before the program was dropped.

The program was established in 1941 and existed under the name Air Scouts until 1949, when it was renamed Air Explorers. With minor changes, this program lasted until 1965, when it was fully merged into the then existing Explorer program of the BSA as a specialty called 'Aviation Explorers'. It still exists today as part of the BSA's Learning for Life Explorer program.

Youth in the United States of America interested in non-profit organizations based around flying should also look into the Civil Air Patrol Cadet Program.


External links