On the morning of Friday 27 February 8 cadets from 966 (Wallingford) Squadron attended air experience flying at RAF Benson. This was the first time cadets from the squadron had been flying during a normal school week. For this thanks should go to the head teachers of Wallingford and Langtree Schools for granting permission for Wallingford cadets who attend those schools to participate in this opportunity.
Sgt Joe Morrison, Cpl Matthew Osborne, Cdts Toby Wales, Cameron Albon-Wilkinson and Nicholas Brown from Wallingford School joined Cdts Nicola Payne, Mollie Judd and Thomas Bartlett from Langtree School to experience what was a perfect day for flying. Also attending with Wallingford in the morning were another 8 cadets from Woodley and Witney squadrons.
The cloudless sky on Friday, in contrast to the weather on the previous days, meant that the flying programme could also include aerobatics if requested by the cadets. Some were that adventurous and in this respect mention should be made of Cdt Nicola Payne who, on only her second flight, opted for the full aerobatic routine of the Loop, Barrel Roll and Stall Turn in succession, without having to reach for the ‘chucky’ bag – her stoicism brought praise from her pilot.
The aim of the day was to give cadets a minimum of 30 mins flying in the dual control Tutor aircraft, during which time in level flight they would have periods in ‘control’ of the aircraft under pilot supervision. For some of the Wallingford cadets this was their first experience in a light aircraft, but judging by the enthusiasm it will not be their last
Normally, air experience flying takes place outside of school hours, but to increase the flying opportunities available to cadets, several sessions within school hours have been arranged by Sqn Ldr Stephen New who is the Thames Valley Wing staff officer responsible for Flying and Gliding. Attendance at these sessions is at the discretion of school headmasters and of course parents.
Thanks should also go to the RAF and RAF Reserve pilots and ground staff of 6 AEF for enabling these extra opportunities