On the 16 September 2010, 20 cadets from Hamilton squadron set off for a virtual round the world trip in aid of RAFA’s Wings appeal. The challenge was to fly “virtually” round the world taking in 9 different airports and returning to RAF Brier Norton (Oxfordshire).
The first crew set off at 1930 hours on Thursday 16 Sept 10. Their flight plan took them out over the Essex coast and then south east over Belgium, Germany, Croatia, Greece then finally landing at RAF Akrotiri Cyprus. They landed just after midnight (2am Cypriot Time).
After 40 minute refuel stop the next crew took to the skies, this time heading for Kandahar, Afghanistan. This was going to be the more difficult landing of the trip, due to the fact the Kandahar has no Instrument Landing System (ILS). The airfield is also at an altitude of some 3000ft AMSL making approached interesting; to make think more difficult they had to land during a dust storm. Once lined up with the airfield they crew could then make a rapid decent into Kandahar from 13,000ft at an average of 3500 – 4000 ft per minute.
Crew change again and set off swiftly after a refuel stop of 30 minutes. Expediting a performance take off to get to a safe altitude of 10,000ft and then adopting normal climb out procedures. Following an easterly direction, the crew flew on to Mandalay International Airport, Myanmar.
The following crews the flew on to Chiang Kai Shek airport, Taiwan then to Tokyo (Japan), Yelizovo (Russia), Fairbanks (Alaska), Winnipeg and ST John’s (Canada) before the final flight back to the UK and RAF Brize Norton.
After a quick low level flypast, they landed at 2017 some 48 hours 47 minutes after leaving RAF Brize Norton. To be greeted by a huge cheer as they landed from family friends and fellow cadets for a small “Landing Party”!
The cadets had done all this in aid of Melton Mowbray’s RAFA Wings Appeal and managed to raise £416! On 4 November 2010, Hamilton Squadron had a presentation of the cheque to RAFA Branch at the squadron, with the cadets showing off the flying skills that got them around the world!
Melton Mowbray RAFA said: “It was a great honour to visit 2502 squadron and receive a cheque for £416. It is a credit to the cadet how much hard work went into raising the money and spending all that time flying. This money has enabled us to raise over £5500 this year, especially for the 70th Anniversary.”
OC 2502 said: “It was a hugely successful activity and I am very proud of the cadets and how they picked up a lot of information as they flew. Many of the cadets has limited experience and had to take in lots of information and instructions at a lighting pace, and sometimes at 4 in the morning! ”
Sgt Ben Gibbons said: “This was an amazing experience. I only wished the OC would have let me fly more legs on the journey!”
Cdt Elliott Said: “The in-flight meals were the best bit, even had the small cans you get on a real plane.”