200th Cadet completes Air Experience Flight at RAF Halton

Jane Reilly  |  Published: Nov 3rd 2017

One of the great attractions of becoming an air cadet is the potential to fly in either a powered or glider aircraft. Unfortunately, over the past 5 years there have been several restrictions to the availability of flying which could have seen a 13-year old join the Air Cadet Organisation (ACO) and leave five years later without ever having flown. With support from the Station Commander, the RAF Halton Aero Club (HAC) has set out to address this problem. 

Serviceability issues with the Tutor, Vigilant and Viking aircraft began to impact on Air Experience Flying and Gliding (AEF and AEG) availability in 2012 and the latter ultimately led to the disbandment of many Volunteer Gliding Squadrons (VGS) in 2015. At RAF Halton, this was most evident with the closure of 613 VGS. As a result, the remaining flying has had to be shared amongst more ATC units in a part of the country with the highest number of cadets. However, funds accrued from RAF Halton’s wider markets initiatives (namely the annual Vale of Aylesbury Sponsored Ride and the use of the Airfield for filming) which have been topped-up by Herts and Bucks Wing and a local charity have been put to good use, and the 200th cadet was flown at RAF Halton in November 2017.


Chairman of the Halton Aero Club (HAC), Gp Capt Mark Manwaring said: “The HAC has a good track record of providing flying training for the Air Cadet Organisation and RAF Junior Ranks through numerous flying scholarship schemes, bursaries and Enhanced Learning Credits training. Because of this, we were determined that it was not going to be just a passenger trip, but more of an interactive learning event that supported the academic syllabus of the ACO. This is achieved by starting the day with a one hour briefing, which develops the Principles of Flight and Aircraft Operations package that cadets will have been taught at their squadrons before being eligible to fly.

“The briefing is followed by a 15-minute practical walk-around of the aircraft they are going to fly and full participation during the sortie under the supervision of carefully selected and No2 Flying Training School-endorsed HAC pilots. Cadets are responsible for reading elements of the checklist on the ground and have the opportunity to experience the effects of controls whilst in the air. Feedback from this has been beyond expectation, with cadets reporting that they have learned more about principles of flight in one morning than weeks in their squadron classrooms.” 

The HAC will continue this programme into 2018 and expect to fly the 400th cadet during the RAF Centenary Year.

aerodynamics groundschool, Crown copyright
learning about aircraft, Crown copyright
group photo, Crown copyright
individual training, Crown copyright
examining an aircraft
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