From ARRSEpedia

Parachute Course Administration Unit

PCAU is based at RAF Brize Norton in Oxfordshire and forms part of 2 Infantry Training Brigade. Although geographically detached from its parent unit, PCAU is ideally placed as a sub-unit of the battalion that provides the majority of students required to undergo parachute courses from its Parachute Regiment Training Company.

PCAU has responsibility for the following functions:

  • Providing and coordinating all personnel and logistics support required to conduct military parachute courses conducted at No1 Parachute Training School (PTS). Additionally, PCAU supports Special Forces Parachuting courses conducted both in the USA and Cyprus throughout the year.
  • Acting as the tri-service interface with the RAF (PTS) who are responsible for the delivery of parachute training.
  • Accepting and prioritising course bids from across the three services.
  • Implementing parachuting policy as directed by MOD (Joint Capability) and HQ No2 Group RAF.

'Yer name's not on the list'

Courses are always heavily over-subscribed and potential students are reminded that PCAU do not routinely accept bids from individuals. Course bids, for entitled personnel only, should be made via Unit or Formation Air Staff.

PCAU has an established long and unique working relationship with the RAF’s No1 Parachute Training School (PTS). PCAU provide support for both basic and SF course students of all ranks from Private to Major Generals. PCAU support the RAF Instructors (PJIs) to enable courses to be conducted smoothly, allowing both students and instructors to concentrate fully on the main objective - that of producing trained military parachutists for operations.

PCAU provide manpower and resources for the airborne equipment demonstrations for a wide range of VIPs who visit the school. These demonstrations seek to introduce visitors to the world of military parachuting. Most visitors rapidly gain an insight into the demand for high standards of fitness required by paratroopers when invited to don complete Jumping Order' with heavy weapons load and full issue kit.

Another database to lose

PCAU also maintain the tri-service database for all service parachutists. This database is consulted on an almost weekly basis by a variety of establishments seeking information for reasons ranging from pay entitlement to historical interest by veterans groups. This same data is regularly consulted by service police in cases of suspected fraud and/or non-entitlement to wear parachutist’s wings!

With electronic records dating back to 1967 and a card index back to the 1940s no one slips through the net - including Jim McAuley, John Pierce, Barry Simkins, Jamie Barratt, Simon de Montfort-Broughton, the ever so talented James Shortt and ARRSE's very own John G to name but a few.


To attend a Basic Parachute Course (BPC) you will need to have completed and PASSED 1 of the following:

This includes servicemen from all Reserve Forces. However, it should be noted that, only members of the Parachute Regiment and SF are guaranteed places on basic courses. All other students are loaded on courses in accordance with MOD guidelines which takes into account unit role and the number of personnel within selected units entitled to parachute.

Specialist parachute courses are conducted for both SF and Field Army/Fleet Units to train students in the skills of Static Line Square (SLS) parachuting and Military Free Fall (MFF) parachuting.