Last week a group of cadets from Wellingborough’s 378 (Mannock) Squadron were invited to the home of the legendary air show display team, The Blades, for a tour of the aircraft and to find out more about what it takes to be an aerobatic stunt pilot.
The cadets travelled to Sywell aerodrome in Northamptonshire where they were treated to a behind-the-scenes tour of the team’s hanger and shown around the four Extra EA-300s display aircraft made famous by their air show performances.
Being RAF Air Cadets, the young visitors were keen to learn that The Blades team is made up of former RAF Red Arrow pilots with more than 30,000 flying hours combined, making them some of the most experienced display pilots in the country.
Cadet Spillane on the visit to The Blades
For budding future pilot, Cadet Alexis Spillane, 13, this was a great opportunity to discover more about a career in aviation. After the tour she said: “Last month I had my first ever flight with the Air Cadets which I loved, and now I can see what opportunities may be out there if I stick with wanting to be a pilot one day.”
Wellingborough Air Cadets visit The Blades
Mark Cutmore, The Blades Team Leader, said: ‘‘As the only aerobatic display team in Northamptonshire, the cadets visit presented a fantastic opportunity for the team to give something back to the local community by inspiring and educating a younger generation. I was really impressed to learn that the cadets knew so much about aerodynamics, and I’m sure many of the cadets will have exciting careers in the aviation industry in years to come.’‘
378 (Mannock) Squadron is currently recruiting for new cadets. Young people can join from age 12 (school year eight) up until they are 17 years of age. Activities open to the cadets at Wellingborough include flying, sports, target shooting, adventure training and leadership.
During the Squadron’s training nights, every Monday and Wednesday, the cadets are given the building blocks to learn practical skills and to earn real qualifications. Awards, such as BTECs in Aviation Studies or Public Services, are available to cadets which are the equivalent of up to four GCSEs at grade A-C
Individuals interested in learning more about what new recruits can expect from the Air Cadets can visit www.378.org.uk or the Squadron’s Facebook page at: www.facebook.com/Mannock. The Squadron’s training takes place at their headquarters in Spring Gardens, Wellingborough.