News Section

New Heights For South & East Midlands Wing

Article posted: Jun 02, 2009 by Sqn Ldr Pass

South & East Midlands Wing became the first users of Central & East Region’s mobile climbing wall during their annual ‘green camp’ at Swynnerton Army Training Estate in Staffordshire.

Following successful training & assessment of two staff from the Wing to operate & supervise the wall, together with the goodwill of RAF Wittering Military Transport (MT) Section in transporting the wall from RAF Cranwell, over 170 Cadets & Staff including our very own Wing Commander experienced this new training facility for the first time.

The mobile climbing wall is built on a trailer and comes equipped with automatic belay devices allowing four climbers at a time. All safety helmets and harnesses were provided as part of this centrally funded initiative by Headquarters Air Cadets.

During the camp, each climber received a full safety brief and demonstration on the principles of climbing, then once kitted out experienced it for themselves. Set a number of challenges during their time on the wall, all the Cadets demonstrated great effort & determination to reach the top. The challenges were set depending upon the climber’s ability, from timed climbs to restricted use of the wall features by their coloring. This offered variation in training to maximize the experience. However for most, the greatest challenge was the decent in taking a ‘leap of faith’ in letting go of the wall and trusting the belay device to lower them in a controlled manner. Needless to say, all climbers got back down safely, some more elegantly than others!

Squadron Leader Andy Pass who supervised the climbers commented: “It’s a fantastic achievement to be the first users of the wall within the Region, and one of the very first nationally. The activity was extremely popular with the Cadets although one or two were very apprehensive to start with, but they conquered their nerves and rose to the challenge. I am sure the Wing will continue to utilise this facility at many forthcoming events”.

Cadets on Swynnerton Camp enjoying the climbing experience.

Once again RAF Wittering MT ensured the safe return of the wall to RAF Wittering for storage and is now available for all Wings within the Region to use.

By Sqn Ldr A C Pass
S&E Mids Wing Staff Officer