How many of your contemporaries will have had the chance to go flying?
And we’re not talking about jetting off to Spain on a two week holiday on a Boeing 737, exciting as that may be.
No, we mean real flying in a light aircraft, a glider, maybe a Chinook helicopter and, if you’re really lucky, a Typhoon fast-jet.
As you would imagine, flying is a really big part of what we do.
Here at 346 (Tynemouth) Squadron we believe in giving our cadets every opportunity we can to experience the joys of flying.
As a cadet, your flying career will probably begin in a Grob Tutor at our local Air Experience Flight – 11 AEF – which is based at RAF Leeming in North Yorkshire. We are usually allocated four cadet places a month.
With an RAF or RAFVR(T) pilot at the controls, you will be taken up on a 20-30 minute flight over the North Yorkshire countryside. You may even be given the chance to take the controls yourself and perhaps experience aerobatics too.
We usually try and combine a trip to 11 AEF with either a visit to Leeming’s air traffic control tower or, other duties permitting, 100 Squadron, which flies the Hawk T Mk1 (the same plane at the Red Arrows) in the ‘aggressor role’, simulating enemy forces and providing essential training in the RAF frontline.
Gliding takes place at 645 VGS at RAF Topcliffe, also in North Yorkshire, where you will take part in ground school training, which includes simulated flights in one of three Grob Vigilant cockpit Part Task Trainers (PTT), and hopefully get airborne for real if the weather conditions are right.
During the course of a year, you may also have the opportunity to fly in other service aircraft at camps and special events.
For older cadets who want to go the extra mile, Flying and Gliding scholarships may be available, allowing you to put in the hours of training needed to take an aircraft into the sky as a solo pilot!