858 (Rushden) Squadron were treated to a rare opportunity on Wednesday night. A former cadet of the squadron came down for the evening in his favourite form of transport which is not the norm for everyone.
John Longland joined 858 (Rushden) Squadron when he was 13 and gained a great deal of qualifications and experience being with the Air Training Corps. John wanted to join the RAF as a pilot and saw that the Air Cadets would give him a great insight and knowledge in what to expect within the RAF as a career.
John is now a Flying Officer within the Royal Air Force and he is currently serving with 33 Squadron. Flying Officer Longland brought his Puma helicopter and landed it in a nearby field to the squadron and let the cadets see what they could be doing in less than 5 years time.
Flying Officer Longland was kind enough to take the cadets of his old Air Training Corps Squadron for a quick flight before he had to return to his base at RAF Benson in Oxon. Flying Officer Longland said “I wanted to give something back to the squadron after they gave me so much and look where I am now! The Air Training Corps gave me a great deal of practical experience and knowledge that helped me to achieve my dream job within the RAF”
All the cadets from the 858 Squadron each had a detailed tour around the aircraft after which they all took to the skies in the RAF Puma helicopter.
Flying Officer John Longland is a living example of what the Air Training Corps can do for young men and women who have aspirations to join the Royal Air Force. All the cadets thoroughly enjoyed their night as they were asked one word to describe their night and words such as “BUZZING” “AWESOME” and “UNBELIEVABLE” were only some of the words expressed by the Rushden Squadron cadet’s.