An Aldermaston cadet has been on a once in a lifetime visit to Hong Kong as part of the International Air Cadet Exchange programme.
Cadet Flight Sergeant Gibbons from 2403 (Aldermaston) Squadron was selected from hundreds of hopeful candidates to take part in the IACE visit to Hong Kong. Flight Sergeant Gibbons says “although I have been a cadet for many years I never thought I would end up in a different country with cadets from all over the world. It has been an experience of a life time and I have made friends from many countries and from different cultures. Knowing how few spaces there are when applying I still never thought I would be in with a chance of going”.
Arrival in Hong Kong saw the cadets from the UK meet up with others from countries such as the USA, Australia, Japan and the Philippines, not forgetting cadets from Hong Kong itself. There then commenced 8 days of visits to a number of Hong Kong landmarks including the new airport, Hong Kong University and “The Peak” which overlooks Victoria Harbour. Eventually the cadets left for 4 days in mainland China where they were hosted by the Chinese Aviation Students on what turned out to be the first ever Youth Aviation Exchange that China had participated in. This resulted in the group being followed everywhere by the Chinese news media and appearing on TV at regular intervals.
Return to Hong Kong saw the cadets try out new experiences such as martial arts, the famous Chinese Lion Dance and even Chinese calligraphy whilst the final day had them looking round the helicopters and aircraft of the Government Flying Service, the highlight being a ride in a Super Puma helicopter for a panoramic look at Hong Kong from the air. Naturally there was also a little time available for a shopping trip to the Ladies Market in order to pick up a few bargains.
Flight Sergeant Gibbons concludes “This has been the highlight of my cadet career and would urge all cadets over 17 to apply. I have been to a new and exciting place, met people from different cultures that I’ll be friends with for life and will never forget the amazing times I have had”.