Last week three lucky cadets from Wellingborough’s 378 (Mannock) Squadron were given the opportunity to take to the skies and take the controls of a trainer aircraft for the first time.
The cadets travelled to RAF Wittering, near Peterborough, to visit No.5 Air Experience Flight, where the day started with a thorough safety briefing, before the young people were strapped into parachutes and allowed to climb aboard the Grob Tutor aircraft along with their RAF reserve pilots.
The group then each spent around 30 minutes in the air and even got the chance to take the controls before it was time to land.
For Cadet Shaquille Bartley, 15, this was his first flight experience and something he will remember for years to come. He said: “First I learned all about staying safe in the air and also how to control the plane. The pilot took charge of taking off and landing but I got the chance to fly from Peterborough back to RAF Wittering – about 10 miles if you were driving in a car.
“The experience was incredible and something I won’t forget in a hurry! I am really looking forward to my next flight.”
Flying Officer Philip Warr, the Officer in Charge of Mannock Squadron, said: “It’s wonderful to see three of our cadets take to the skies. The exciting news is that we are currently making plans for our next flying day at RAF Wittering and we look forward to giving more young people the chance to take the controls.”
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.