News Section

70 Years of the Air Training Corps - RIAT Adventure

Article posted: Aug 08, 2011 by Flt Lt Waplington

In May 2011 I was approached by the owner of ZA 634 (G-BUHA) Mr J. Margrave. Hotel Alpha being a Slingsby Venture T2 as used by the ATC during the late 1970s & 1980s..
I was asked if I would be interested in displaying HA at the Royal International Air Tattoo at RAF Fairford Gloucestershire.
What an honour and my first air display participating, of course I said yes. I first flew this aircraft type at RAF Syerston in 1977 and as with many other air cadets this was my first solo flight.
Two days training took place at Syerston in June 2011. The plan was to display all of the aircraft types used by the Air Training Corps over the past 70 years.
A fourteen ship formation was organised by Squadron Leader C. Heames RAF Syerston.

The training was well organised and successful and having impressed the RAF senior management we were authorised to continue training at Hullavington airfield (near Fairford) the week prior to the Tattoo.

Displays took place on Friday 15th and Sunday 17th, Saturday being scrubbed due to poor weather.
Aircraft in the flight included, in the first formation a De- Havilland Tiger Moth, Chipmunk, S.A. Bulldog and Grob Tutor. Second formation a Slingsby Venture & Grob Vigilant, followed by the third comprising of three tugs & five gliders – Slingsby Cadet Mk3, Sedbergh , Swift, Swallow and Grob Viking.
Conditions on the day were difficult due to turbulent conditions over Fairford’s runway.

The weekend was topped when I read a report of the Tattoo award ceremony which stated that Air Commodore Nigel Wharmby made special mention of the Air Training Corps. The display with training aircraft and gliders was truly remarkable given that the wind and weather made conditions phenomenally difficult he said “I salute you”.

Flying Officer S Dodds
138 Sqn