The end of 2018 and beginning of 2019 was a busy time for cadets from 868 (Mirfiled) Squadron progressing through the Royal Air Force Air Cadets’ progressive flying training syllabus.
Starting at the end of October, Cadet Warrant Officer Miles Gilroy (19), Flight Sergeant Anas Galib-Khorshid (19), Corporal Rebecca Jagger (15) and cadet Toby Mathews (14) visited 645 volunteer Gliding Squadron at RAF Syerston for a Blue Gliding Wings Course. This entailed some classroom instruction in the basic principles of flight and the controls of a glider and some practical training in a Part Task Trainer simulator of the Air Cadets’ Viking glider. Having practiced and developed their skill and knowledge on the ground all four them progressed to flying in the Viking glider, and the consequent award of their Blue Gliding Wings.
In November cadets Aiden Booth (13), Blue Cockcroft (13) and Cora Smith (14) visited 644 Volunteer Gliding Squadron at RAF Topcliffe, where they were able to do the gliding ground school and simulator training. Completion of this training in conjunction with their practical experience of flying in the RAF’s Grob Tutor basic training aircraft with 9 Air Experience Flight at RAF Linton-on-Ouse meant that all three qualified for the award of their Blue Aviation Wings.
At the end of November, it was the turn of cadets Ben Ayrton, Amina Azhar, Elliot Lunn and Sam Owen, all aged 14, to get into the flying seat when they visited No. 9 Air Experience Flight. They all had a safety briefing from before being kitted out with flying suit, parachute and helmet ready for take-off, one at a time. During their flights, their instructors demonstrated how the aircraft responds to the flying controls and each cadet had the opportunity to fly the aircraft themselves and to experience aerobatics.
An extra bonus on the day was to find that several Apache helicopters of the Army Air Corps were on the station and the visiting cadets were allowed to visit and had a tour of the aircraft hosted by one of their pilots.
Finally, 2019 got off to a flying start when it was the turn of two 14 year old cadets Mitchell Breare and Elliot Lunn to attend the Blue Gliding Wings Course with 645 VGS at Raf Syerston. Having a very similar experience to the previous party, all four qualified for their Blue Gliding Wings, and by virtue of their flying experience in the Grob Tutor aircraft completed their Blue Aviation Wings at the same time.
Ellot Lunn gave this account of his experience of the Blue Wings Gliding Course: “The actual gliding was amazing, I loved the feeling of freedom in the air without the buzz of a loud engine. The weather was beautiful and the flight itself so peaceful. I was told some basic manoeuvres then asked to take control of the glider and repeat them, which I did with relative ease. It was different to flying the Grob Tutor like in my previous flying experience.
After completing the Blue Gliding Wings practical my pilot and I had some fun. We pulled some tricks and rolls that applied around 3Gs of force. He then let me experience 0 gravity in which we dived until we reached around 60 knots. I then pulled back on the control column and pitched the nose to point above the horizon and suddenly dropped the nose to point back at the ground. This caused a feeling of weightlessness and was truly incredible.
This was an experience I’ll never forget and am so thankful I had the opportunity to go gliding.”
Report by Flight Lieutenant P Doubell, 868 (Mirfield) Squadron, South & West Yorkshire Wing ATC
Mirfield Air Cadets meet at the Air Cadet Centre in Mirfield on Huddersfield Road near the Stocks Bank Road junction, on Tuesday and Friday evenings. For more information please contact Flt Lt Peter Doubell on 01924 498 896 (parade evenings only). To learn more about the air cadets click here or to find your local unit click here