A visit to RAF Coningsby, Lincs was organised recently by staff of 1359 (Beeston) Sq aimed at providing the squadron’s cadets with an insight into the operations of a front line RAF station.
The day started with a visit to the Battle of Britain Memorial Flight (BBMF). The BBMF guide gave the cadets a tour of three of the most iconic aircraft to have seen service with the RAF, the Spitfire, Hurricane and Lancaster. The part that each aircraft had to play during WWII was described and they even got to climb inside the Lancaster. The cadets also had the opportunity to get inside one of the BBMF’s other aircraft, the C-47 Dakota.
Following lunch in the Junior Ranks Mess we met up with our guide at 41® Squadron, which is the RAF’s Fast Jet Weapons Operational Evaluation Unit. Our guide explained to the cadets how the various weapons work and are tested and how they are integrated into the aircraft. A close up view of one of the units Tornado GR.4’s was included in the visit.
The next visit was to 3 (Fighter) Squadron, the first RAF front line Typhoon squadron, where we were allowed fantastic access to a Typhoon FGR.4 in its Hardened Aircraft Shelter (HAS). The ground crew gave each cadet a talk through of the equipment in the cockpit and how the aircraft is flown. They also had a walk round of the aircraft with an explanation of how the various aircraft components operate. This was followed with a close up view of a live launch of 6 Typhoon aircraft as they departed their HAS’s for their afternoon sorties.
All too soon the visit came to an end and the late afternoon saw us on our way home, but not before a quick detour saw us visit the 617 Squadron memorial in Woodhall Spa and then a drive past of the RAF College at Cranwell.
All in all the visit gave the cadets a rare insight into operations of today’s RAF and also the role they have played in defence of our country in the past, with a bit of science and history thrown in. Hopefully they acquired some knowledge that will help them in their academic studies as well as giving them something to think about as a future career.
Our grateful thanks to all personnel at RAF Coningsby for assisting with the visit, especially Flt Lt Gebbie (the ACLO) and the BBMF staff and Sgt Osbourne of 3(F) Sq for providing two great tours after our plans were changed at short notice.
CI Mike Hill