This summer I was lucky enough to spend the last week of the holidays at RAF Halton, completing my Air Cadets Gliding Scholarship. The 10 day course took place at Aylesbury military base; I was one of 12 students who had opted for the course through either their CCF or ATC squadrons.
The first night on the base was particularly nerve-wracking, as we were briefed on our strict daily routine whilst still trying to learn each other’s names! A typical day at the airfield started with a crew briefing, usually given by the Sergeant. Normal information given out would be the condition of our runway and the daily circuit plan, plus emergency options for turning back due to engine failure. After this, we would be out cleaning the aircraft canopies, or taking the mobile air traffic control tower out to its position on the airfield. After the day was over, it was time to push the aircraft back into the hangar, wash them all down and head back to the base for bed.
If I had thought the daily routine was hard work, it was nothing compared to the actual flying! Each Vigilant tutor has a wingspan of over 50 feet; one of the most challenging things was keeping the aircraft in balance through buffeting winds. I managed to fit in at least two hours flying each day, which saw my confidence soar both in the air and on the ground.
By the end of the course, I couldn’t believe how far I’d come. I had managed to complete eight hours of glider training and achieve my blue wings, all in the space of ten days! My time at RAF Halton was one of the happiest of my life, and I would encourage anyone to seize this opportunity.
Rosie Welch (Weymouth)