Air Scout

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Air Scout
World Scout Emblem Air Scout.svg
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 with a particular emphasis on an aviation themed programme and/or flying-based activities. Air Scouts follow the same basic Scouting programme as normal Scouts, but they devote certain amounts of time focused on their air activities.

Air Scouts often wear a slightly different uniform from the rest of the Scouting movement and/or may have additional badges/insignia.

Most air activities are ground based like visits to airports and air museums, radio controlled model flight, aero modelling and camping on airfields. Depending on age group, country and Scout group the activities can also include parachuting or flights in light aircraft, helicopters, gliders or hot air balloons.


Major Baden Fletcher Smyth Baden-Powell, Robert Baden-Powell's youngest brother, was an aviator and the first[citation needed] who brought flying-based activities into Scouting. An Airman's badge was introduced by The Boy Scouts Association of The United Kingdom in 1911. However, these did not introduce Air Scouts. The Boy Scouts Association of The United Kingdom introduced Air Scouts in 1941.[1]

The 4th World Scout Jamboree in 1933 was the first international gathering where Air Scouts were represented. On August 9 Robert Baden-Powell visited the air scouts, 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.[2]



Air Scouts Canberra

Scouts Australia has a few active Air Scout groups. Air Scouts Canberra is located in Deakin, Australian Capital Territory.[3] There are two Air Scouts Groups in Western Australia, Bullsbrook and Morley Groups. There are also Air Scouts in individual Scout Groups.


Bangladesh Scouts has an Air Scouts programme and is a branch of Scouting for their Rover section, not a separate organisation. Organisationally there is a separate region for Air Scout among its 11 regions[4] There are two Air Rover Units in Bangladesh. All Scouting sections in Bangladesh follow the same programme for their section but Air Rover Scouts sections then add an aeronautical flavour to the programme and activities. 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.[5]


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".[6]

The first Air Scout Group in Brazil was started 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 its units to provide support to Air Scout Groups at all its bases, as needed.

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


The first Air Scout Group in Chile, "Rodolfo Marsh", was established on 17th Sept 1936 at the Chilean Air Force base at Quinteros. The founder and first Scoutmaster was Don Leopoldo Sánchez [7] However no references to "Scouts Aéreos" have been found currently.


At present only one Air Scout Group - 'Tigres Del Aire' - is known of in Colombia, which is a member of Asociación Scouts de Colombia.


Air Scouting in Cyprus is an active part of the Soma Proskopon Kyprou program.


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 twenty-six governorates 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.

In January 2007 the first Air Scout Festival was held in Ismalia.


Air Scouts (Scouts de L'Air) started in the north of France in the mid-1930s. The first documented French Air Scout camp was held at Saint Cyr, 25 August to 1 September 1935. After World War II 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 [8] and demonstrated as well as activities such as aeromodelling.[9]

Currently only two practising Air Scout Troops are known - one based in southeast France [10] and one of the smaller French Associations [11]


Air Scouting in Greece is an active specialist branch of the Soma Hellinon Proskopon (Scouts of Greece) program. Air Scouts are called Aeroproskopoi. There is a Region for Air Scouts of approximately 57 Air Scout groups. The Greek Air Scouting branch was founded in 1945.[12]

Hong Kong[edit]

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 there was only one Air Scout Unit in the territory from 1967 to 1972. In 1972 the Group added an Venture Air Scout unit.

In 1972, the Chief Scout of Hong Kong appointed Francis Yiu Cheong Chin as the first Air Scout Commissioner to develop and expand Air Scouting. Mr. Chin is a Queen's Scout, a Leader Trainer and a member of the Hong Kong Chin Brothers aviators with the long distance flying record of successfully completed “The First 100 horsepower Single-engine England to Hong Kong Long Distance Cross-Country Flight in History”. As a result Air Scouting spread and flourished after 1972. There are 18 Air Scout Units in 5 Regions of Scout Groups in Hong Kong.[13]


"Saka Dirgantara" is the Air Scout specialism programme of the Indonesian Scout Association - Gerakan Pramuka aimed at the Rover Scout section (16-20) known as Satuan Karya. This aeronautical skills programme focuses on three different aspects:

  • Aero Sport: Motorized Flight, Non Motorized Flight, Aeromodelling, Sky Diving, Hang Gliding
  • Aero Knowledge: Aerodynamics, Air Traffic Control (ATC), Meteorology, Flight Supporting Facility, Air Navigation
  • Aero Service: Aircraft Mechanical engineering, Flight Communication, Aerial SAR, Aero Structure

Air Scouting in Indonesia is supported by the Indonesian Air Force TNI AU and other aero club organisations.


Air Scouting is a branch of Scouting Ireland which combines the normal scouting activities such as camping and hiking with an interest in aviation and space.


The first Air Scout patrol was established in the Victoria Institution in 1951 and ceased to exist in 1955.[14] The 10th Kuala Lumpur Group in the Methodist Boys School [15] was established in 1915, converted to Air Scouts in 1952 and remains active.[16] Air Scouts Troops exist in Kuala Lumpur[17] and Johore.[18]


Air Scouting (luchtscouting) in the Netherlands is an active part of the program. There are currently 15 Air Scout groups. They wear a gray shirt.


A single member Scout Group of the Confederación Interamericana Scouts Independientes (CISI) in Ascunión, Paraguay has both Sea and Air Scout sections. This is probably due to it being supported by the local Naval Air Force Base.


A small number of Air Scout Groups exist in Peru as part of the Asociación de Scouts del Perú (ASP, Scout Association of Peru).


SP-BZP, hot air balloon Scout Balloon Club (Poland)

Air Scouting (harcerskie lotnictwo) in Poland is an active part of the program. There are currently Scout Balloon Club, 1 Air Scout Group and 9 Air Scout Troops.

South Africa[edit]

Air Scouting in South Africa is an active part of the South African Scout Association program. Since 2005 Air Scouting has expanded, especially in Gauteng, where the first Airjamborally since the 1980s was held during August 2005. The Gauteng Area Air Scouts has 5 of the 8 Air Scout Groups.


Air Scouting activity had been extremely poor up to date, just a few single troops merged in ASDE (Scouts de España, WOSM) from Valencia and Tenerife (Canary Islands), both experiencing a period of activity of about two or three years during the late 1970s. Today, there's a revival on the way with two active groups in the ASDE Madrid area, one more in the ASDE Castille-Le Manche area (in Albacete) and the older group alive in Barcelona belonging to the Associació Catalana de Scouts (Catalonian Association of Scouts, WFIS)


The Sudanese Air Scout and Girl Guides Group is an active part of the Sudan Scouts Association and Girl Guides Association of Sudan. It was founded in 1975 by Isam Kamel and Alladeen Hassan Abas as part of the National Aviation Institute. In 1976, they transferred the Air Scout activities to the Sudanese Air Scout club in Nile Street Khartoum. Sudanese Air Scout members attend local activities, in addition to activities organized outside of the Sudan, such as Arab and International Jamborees. Also, Sudanese Air Scouts send some members to study plane models in the Czech Republic.[citation needed]

United Kingdom[edit]

Air Scouts of the Baden-Powell Scouts' Association, July 2008

British Scouts have been involved in aviation since the early days of aviation. The first UK Scout Group known to have built and flown their own glider were East Grinstead who flew for 200 feet at an altitude of 25 feet, in 1912. The first powered aircraft to be owned by UK Scouts was an Airco DH.6 presented to 3rd Hampden (Middlesex) Scouts in 1921.

The idea of Air Scouts as a distinct unit was resisted for many years, becoming an official branch of Scouting in 1941.[19][20] The first National Air Scout camp took place in Avington Park in July 1942 and in December 1942 a National Air Scout exhibition was held in Dorland Hall, London.[21] The Scout Association bought their first glider in 1959, and operated an Air Activity Centre at Lasham, near Alton in Hampshire, until 1978.[22]

Currently around 10% of all Scouts in the Scout Association are in one of the 160 Air Scout Troops or Explorer Units.[citation needed] 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.[23] Air Scouting is also provided for within the Baden-Powell Scouts' Association.

Aircraft owned by UK Scouts[edit]

A number of aircraft have been owned by Scouts in the United Kingdom, including:

United States of America[edit]

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 (later under the Explorer program the ranks were Apprentice, Bronze, Gold, and Silver Award). The Ace (Silver Award) 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.[27]


  1. ^ retrieved 21 April 2013
  2. ^ From the book of Dr. Kubassek János: A Szahara bűvöletében — Az "Angol beteg" igaz története Almásy László hiteles életrajza (~ Under the spell of Sahara Desert — The true story of "The English Patient", an authentic biography of Almásy László) in Hungarian, Panoráma, 1999, Budapest, Hungary
  3. ^ ASC History - Air Scouts Canberra retrieved January 2012 Archived February 27, 2014 at the Wayback Machine
  4. ^ "Bangladesh Scouts Organisation". Archived from the original on 2013-11-04. Retrieved 2012-10-14. 
  5. ^ "1st Belgian Air Scouts & Guides". Archived from the original on 2013-11-03. Retrieved 2012-10-14. 
  6. ^ "Modalidade do Ar". Modalidade do Ar. Archived from the original on 2013-05-18. Retrieved 2012-01-29. 
  7. ^[dead link]
  8. ^ Archived November 4, 2013 at the Wayback Machine
  9. ^ Archived November 4, 2013 at the Wayback Machine
  10. ^ "WE aérien de troupe du 18-19 Octobre - Le blog du Caracal" (in (French)). Retrieved 2012-01-29. 
  11. ^ [1] Archived June 22, 2010 at the Wayback Machine
  12. ^ 100 Χρόνια Ιστορία Ελλήνων Προσκόπων | 100 Years of History Archived April 27, 2012 at the Wayback Machine
  13. ^ The history of the development of the Air Scouting Movement in Hong Kong is excerpted from the official confirmed minutes of the First Meeting of the Air Activity Committee (2007/2008), Programme Branch, Scout Association of Hong Kong held on 9 January2009. The Air Activity Committee is a policy-making committee oversees all Air Scouting activities in Hong Kong
  14. ^ "Surviving the Wreckage of War (1942-1954)". Archived from the original on 2012-04-15. Retrieved 2012-10-14. 
  15. ^ "Methodist Boys' School (Kuala Lumpur) - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia". Archived from the original on 2014-03-19. Retrieved 2012-01-29. 
  16. ^ About Us January 29th, 2011 (2011-01-29). "About 10th KL". Archived from the original on 2013-11-03. Retrieved 2012-10-14. 
  17. ^ Kuen Cheng Scout Group Malaysia Archived December 30, 2013 at the Wayback Machine
  18. ^ Air Scouts Malaysia Archived May 20, 2013 at the Wayback Machine
  19. ^ a b Walker, Colin "Johnny" (June 2007). "The Early History of Air Scouting". Scouting Milestones. Archived from the original on 2013-11-04. Retrieved 2009-01-17. 
  20. ^ The Scout Association (2006). An Official History of Scouting. Hamlyn. pp. 106–107, 175. ISBN 978-0-600-61398-5. 
  21. ^ The Scout Association (2006). An Official History of Scouting. Hamlyn. p. 176. ISBN 978-0-600-61398-5. 
  22. ^ "Scout Assn. Air Scout History". Archived from the original on 2010-06-29. Retrieved 2012-10-14. 
  23. ^ "Scout Association, RAF Recognition". Archived from the original on 2010-05-27. Retrieved 2012-10-14. 
  24. ^ "G-AGYH stored in Scout livery, 1974". Archived from the original on 2013-11-04. Retrieved 2012-10-14. 
  25. ^ "G-BODU in Scout colours". 2007-08-12. Archived from the original on 2013-11-04. Retrieved 2012-10-14. 
  26. ^ "Photo of VX580 in Norfolk Air Scout livery". Retrieved 2012-10-14. 
  27. ^ Michael R. Brown. "BSA Air Scouting (1941-1949)". Archived from the original on 2013-11-03. Retrieved 2012-10-14. 

The name is also used as a derogatory reference to members of the U.S. Air Force, typically used by combat troops of the U.S. Army and U.S. Marine Corps.[citation needed]

External links[edit]