A trio of Air Cadets from 2402 (Burghfield) Squadron were granted the rare privilege of leading the Queens Birthday Flypast onboard a Chinook helicopter from RAF Odiham.
The cadets, who flew alongside colleagues from Surrey, Sussex and Hampshire were greeted by members of number 27 Squadron and given a safety brief regarding the helicopter itself before it was time to get issued with their flying helmets. Next stop was the briefing room where the pilot, Squadron Leader Stu Hague and his co-pilot, Flight Lieutenant Tim Andrews gave them an overview of the planned route of the flight and provided them with some last minute safety instructions.
Finally it was off to the crew room for a short break whilst waiting for the Puma helicopters from RAF Benson to arrive in order to complete the helicopter trio. The wait though was short before the familiar whine of the Chinook helicopter starting was heard reverberating from outside and the call was given to head off to the flight line. Once on board and strapped in the three helicopters lifted off and made their way to the rendezvous point where they joined up with the rest of the formation and then proceeded to lead the flypast down the Mall and over the top of Buckingham Palace. The flight concluded with a short transit back to Odiham and a very impressive flypast of the 27 Squadron hangars before the helicopter touched down and the cadets disembarked.
Speaking before the flight, 13 year old cadet Charlie Chamberlain, who has only been a cadet since January said that he was thoroughly looking forward to his flight and that his friends at School hadn’t believed him when told that he was going to take part in the flypast. Unusually, this was also his first ever flight since joining cadets, what a way to start a cadet career.