During the October half term 28 cadets and 8 staff from Thames Valley Wing headed to RAF Linton-on-Ouse for their autumn camp on an operational, RAF station. It was a busy week for the cadets as they got to experience activities both on and off base, experience what life is like on an RAF station and meet new people with 17 of the wings squadrons been represented at the camp. For many of the cadets this was their first week long camp and were kept very busy with lots of activities and chance to discover what happens on an RAF base.
‘Blue Camps’ to RAF Stations have become reduced over the past couple of years but the opportunities provided on these camps can be priceless for cadets. Below is a summary of what happened on the Thames Valley autumn camp along with a selection of photos taken from across the week by cadets.
This day saw the cadets visiting the York Air Museum and find out more about the history connected to the area. With a mix of outdoor and indoor displays and information about how the RAF Stations functioned was an ideal opportunity to compare old to new. After the morning here it was then off to the ‘National Rail Museum’ at York which all cadets found a great experience. With plenty of interactive displays and the chance to find out more about some key developments in the British transport industry everyone enjoyed the afternoon.
A rare opportunity to find out about RAF Fylingdales in the Yorkshire moors, which is responsible for the UK ‘Early ballistic missile warning’ and space surveillance service. A unique base which many cadets had never heard of and found fascinating. With a presentation of the history of the station and its current day operations the cadets were shown a simulation of what happens in the event of a missile warning happening. With a lunch break a visit was paid to the MOD Fire Section, been shown the based engine and equipment used to rescuing people in trapped cars. The cadets had the chance to try out the oxygen and car cutting tools and control the fire hoses.
Another day off base to the outdoor centre, Adrenaline which was a day of high rope courses and climbing wall. During the morning the cadets were split into groups to try out climbing and abseiling and conquer some fears of heights. This ended with an inter flight competition with the top 5 fastest climbers in each flight racing to the top of the wall. After lunch it was time to try the high ropes courses with 3 different courses to test everyone’s skills. Even one of the staff braved the high pole (blindfolded) to show the cadets how it was done.
A busy day on station with a morning of drill to practice for the end of camp drill competition and with the Wing Warrant Officer on camp there was no excuses for not been on top form. A change into civvies saw the cadets out and about exploring the area on ‘Exercise Linton Locks’ which they had to navigate through the local villages and countryside to answer a quiz. Following lunch it was then a visiting to the history room to learn about the background of the station and the squadrons that have been based at RAF Linton-on-Ouse. A quick change and then it was over to the gym for a PT session before an evening presentation with an ex Thames Valley cadet. Flt Lt Baz Cross spoke about his RAF career since leaving the ATC including a tour with the Red Arrows!
A true insight into the RAF as cadets went on section visits across the station. Firstly over to the new ‘Air Traffic Control’ tower where the time was spent in the tower and radar rooms learning about how ATC operates and the different roles that exist within the trade. Whilst in the tower some of the cadets got to witness 3 Tucanos take off in formation and then the other group watched them return back to base. It was then over the cockpit simulators to understand the procedures behind the Tucano aircraft and the role of the Pilots and some of the different procedures that are required to be performed. The cadets were then taken over to one of the Hangers to have a tour of the Tucano and the chance to sit in the cockpit with 2 of the resident pilots from 72(R) Squadron. 2 cadets selected as best cadet from the camp then after lunch had the opportunity to advance their knowledge with a 30 minute sortie in the Tucano simulator. These are the same used by the pilots who are completing their flying training. The rest of the camp then departed to ‘Eden Camp’ where they explored this former WW2 Prisoner of War Camp to explore what took place during this time.
The final day for the cadets with the camp drill competition taking place under the watchful eye of WO (ATC) Anderson who was judging the two flights and their uniform standards. It was then a visit back to the gym for a session with the RAF ‘Motivational Outreach Team’ who took the cadets through their paces to expand their team building skills and confidence. After an early lunch the camp then headed over to RAF Leconfield for a tour around the search and rescue Sea King unit based here, E Flight of 202 Squadron. Even though the weather prevented any flights taking place it was an informative and interesting insight into the UK operations of search and rescue.
Overall it was a busy week for everyone and all the cadets had the opportunity to discover life on an RAF Station and visit not only local attractions but other areas of the RAF that otherwise they wouldn’t have come across. With camps available both in the UK and overseas across the year there is the chance for you to get on target for the cadet experience.