RAF Brize Norton, one of the biggest stations in the RAF family, hosted the eagerly anticipated launch day the RAF Association’s all-new initiative for youngsters – rafa YOUTH. A vibrant membership scheme designed to show young flyers the RAF up close to which Cadet Guillaume Flavin from 2121 (Abingdon) Squadron got to be a part of as one of the 6 lucky winners.
In his own words Cdt Falvin explains what happened on the day and how he got involved with rafa Youth. You can see more photos of the day here or on the rafa Youth Site.
Taking a visit to an RAF station, such as one like RAF Brize Norton, seems like an unlikely and rare occasion. But not for an Air Cadet who’s a member of the RAF association’s new youth scheme. A scheme which will offer opportunities through competitions set up and advertised through their Facebook page. Their first being six cadets having the chance to take part in the RAFA YOUTH launch day, held at RAF Brize Norton. With it being as easy to apply as entering your name, squadron and email address.
For me and five other cadets from across the UK, it was a day to remember. A day which offered activities and events that if it wasn’t for the rafa YOUTH, wouldn’t have been possible. It started off with an exciting and memorable experience in the station’s Vickers VC10 simulators. Firstly, we were briefed by the pilots themselves on how to use the VC10’s controls and what we’d be doing. The ultimate goal being to land at Hong Kong’s airport: Kai Tak, one of the most challenging airports in the world to land at.
In the simulator we went once more through the aircraft’s controls and then it was take off. The instructor, sat in the right hand seat, allowed us to take control for the entire flight. We took the aircraft through wingovers, low level flight and flying under the nearby suspension bridge until the inevitable landing. The whole experience was not only enjoyable, but gave us an insight into flying RAF aircraft. After this, we were led to the prize giving ceremony. It was another great experience for us cadets as we were able to speak with RAF officers and pilots and added to the day’s theme.
We were later taken to the apron, where we had the rare opportunity of looking around the RAF’s new Airbus A330 Voyager MRTT. We had access to the flight deck, the whole cabin and the entire aircraft exterior. Therefore being another interesting opportunity to speak with the crews of this new aircraft.
On a similar note, we were then greeted with lunch in the back of the RAF’s main transport aircraft: the C-17 Globemaster. It was an even rarer and new experience than any other on the day and one which will be hard to ever forget. For a 14 year old to gain the opportunity to have lunch in an operational aircraft with pilots who speak to you about the roles and capabilities offered by the aircraft is a complete honour and one which wouldn’t have been possible without the RAFA YOUTH. The day ended with us six cadets being bewildered as to what we had experienced and the memories that had been made. The rafa YOUTH had definitely made a great first impression.
“The launch day at Brize Norton exceeded our expectations,” said Bob Hounslow, Director of Membership & Operations at the RAF Association. “It was fantastic giving the winning cadets the opportunity to fly the VC10 simulators and see first-hand what a large RAF station such as Brize is like up close. As members of rafa YOUTH it also served to make them feel fully part of something new and exciting.”