Maidenhead Cadets Are on Target This summer

The summer is typically a busy time for Air Cadet Squadrons with many different activities, camps and events happening across the months. 155 (Maidenhead) Squadron have provided an insight into the 1st half of their summer and the things the cadets have been involved with so far with plenty more still on the horizon yet!

The 13th July saw 4 cadets take to the air for the first time in a vigilant glider at RAF Benson’s 612 Venture Gliding School. Each cadet got 2 opportunities to fly and clocked up nearly three hours of flying time between them. Cadet Alice Armstrong said that it had been one an absolutely amazing experience, flying over the Oxfordshire Countryside on a lovely summer’s day and taking control of the glider.

Between July 6th and 13th, Flt Sgt Toby James was selected for and attended the cadet leadership course at Frimley Park alongside cadets from other forces. The Cadet Leadership Course is renowned throughout the cadet movement for being an all-inclusive, action-packed course to remember.  It is aimed at all suitably-qualified cadets over 16 years of age, with the prospect of a week of arduous physical and mental challenges. The Cadet Leadership Course is designed to develop cadets’ initiative and self-reliance by using the challenging and physically demanding problems of practical leadership. Leadership can be learnt and developed.  The aim of the leadership courses is to focus attention on the personal characteristics cadets should be trying to develop.  The leadership qualities that they learn will serve them well wherever they go and whatever you do. It is open to any physically fit male or female cadets who are aged between 16 and 18 yrs. 9 months on the day the course starts and is a member of one of the UK cadet forces.  Cadets need to be physically fit, passed their weapons training tests and carried out live firing on the cadet rifle.

From the 16th to 23rd of July, 4 cadets and the Squadron Commander, Flt Lt Paul Bennett, attended the world famous Royal International Air Tattoo at RAF Fairford. Although the event is primarily 2 days, there are in excess of 650 ATC cadets and staff who live and work at the air base for a period of 8 days, assisting the RAF Charitable trust. The cadets had the opportunity to meet the Red Arrows, see inside various aircraft and helicopters , meet high ranking Air force personnel from around the world and watch the flying displays and practices over 4 days. Sgt Scott Tizzard was nominated as one of the top cadets to attend the week, and was interviewed by the contingent Wing Commander as one of the top 5 selected. He was also part of the guard of honour for the high ranking gala dinner, with the chiefs of staff from the UK and overseas.

Flt Sgt Toby James was selected to meet the commandant of the air cadets, Air Commodore Dawn McCafferty as part of a media project. He discussed his experiences in the air cadet organisation, including his recent week attending the prestige cadet leadership course at Frimley Park. It was a rare opportunity for a cadet to have the chance to ask the commandant face to face questions, and Flt Sgt James did this on 2 consecutive days. Flt Sgt James commented “For myself, RIAT 2013 was even better than expected. I was given the roles of both senior NCO in both our tent accommodation and then for Fortress flight which helped my leadership skills. We had a good balance between our down-time to rest and of our on-task time where we completed tasks such as setting up barriers and entrance gates, helping the RIAT staff check tickets, provide friendly direction and advice to members of the public when needed. The rewards for helping were fantastic, for example; as cadets we were given special access by flight crews into their aircraft, my favourite being the Vietnam-era Huey. However the biggest and most rewarding highlight for me was meeting Air Commodore Dawn McCafferty”.

On Sunday 4th August, a number of cadets assisted with a prestigious sporting event in central London at the Mall, 12 months on from the Olympic Games. The event is a cycle race starting in the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park and finishing on the Mall. Cadets started with a visit to the bomber command memorial and then assisted with various duties at the event.

Cadet Cpl Abi Jones and Cdt John McGuckin attended summer camp at RAF Henlow in Bedfordshire; where they got the opportunity to go gliding, visited the RAF Museum at Hendon as well as various section visits at both RAF Henlow and RAF Halton. 8 cadets from 155 (Maidenhead) Sqn, plus 2 from 2477 (Britwell) have visited the refuelling squadrons and flight simulators at RAF Brize Norton in Oxfordshire. The day started with all cadets flying circuits at Kai Tak airport in the VC10 simulator, followed by a chance to look around one of the final three operational VC10’s that was preparing to fly out to Copenhagen. Then moving from the old to the new, cadets had a look round one of the brand new Airbus Voyager tankers that had not actually started flying yet for the RAF. Cadets learnt a lot about the problems faced by refuelling aircraft in flight, the amount of planning required and the vital support role that these aircraft provide.

All the activities which Maidenhead Squadron have taken part in show just how much the Air Cadet Organisation takes part in and the opportunities available. So ‘Are you on Target’ to experience everything on offer – Check here to see.