Aerospace Challenge – a participant’s viewpoint. by Cdt Charlie Smith. 5F (Northampton) Sqn.
On arrival at Cranfield University we were given time to check in, see our rooms and unpack. An hour later we were given an evening briefing on what we would be doing for the week. We were also told that we would be meeting HRH Prince Andrew. This made us nervous but also very excited to meet the prince.
The week was set out as follows:
lecture in the morning and helicopter flying in the afternoon.
Up at 0700 hours to form up alongside the Australian and Canadian Air Cadets who were visiting as part of the Jubilee celebrations. We were the only participating air cadet squadron to be told to bring our uniforms with us for the ‘Three Nations of Air Cadets’ photo. Today was also the day that we were presented to HRH Prince Andrew.
We went to Duxford and were taught by an ex Concorde pilot. We also had our own personal Spitfire display and were allowed time to look around the hangar.
We had lectures in the morning and then we had a visit from a Hawk Mk2 from RAF Valley. We had the chance to sit in the cockpit of the Hawk and talk to the pilot.
Friday: We learnt about Jetstream flight and demonstrating flight dynamics before packing ready to leave for home at 1330 hours.
In the evenings we were given time to just chill out and do whatever we wanted to. Most of us played football on the field or just sat around the rest area playing pool and mixing with other people and making new friends.
The best part of the week had to be the flying!! Flying in the R-22 was an amazing experience due to the fact that it is different from any other type of flying we do as cadets. It felt different and handled differently and we were very surprised as to how sensitive the collective was. (the control stick)
At the end of the week we were all sad to be going home because we had such an amazing week with so many memories. The other thing that made it such a good week were the people around us and the fact that we had made friends for life.
As a team we would just like to say thank you for letting us go to Cranfield and we hope to do it again in the future.