On the afternoon of Wednesday 30 October, 19 cadets and 3 members of staff from 966 (Wallingford), 2410 (Didcot) and 2121 (Abingdon) squadrons assembled at RAF Benson for a Merlin AEF (Air Experience Flight).
All the cadets had attended RAF Benson Families Day in July and the AEF was a thank you from RAF Benson for the sterling work they carried out on that day.
Before the flight a safety brief was delivered in a most ‘memorable style’ by FS Andrew Turner of 78 Sqn who then took charge of the cadets for the rest of the day.
It was decided to fly in two sticks of 11 persons which would allowed the main cargo doors of the Merlin to be left open so as to ‘enhance’ the experience. Flight times were of approximately 30 minutes duration and for a number of the cadets it was their first time in a helicopter but, to everyone’s credit, no sick bags were used, despite the ‘aerial versatility’ of the Merlin being well demonstrated on both flights.
It was unanimously agreed a most memorable experience, especially for those cadets on the second flight, as the later part took place as night was falling.