Flying with the Pathfinders

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Royal Air Force Air Cadets took to the air with the Pathfinder Club at RAF Wyton as part of a new initiative to provide more opportunities for cadets to fly in civil aircraft.

This was a unique opportunity for the cadets to undergo Air Experience Flying in civil aircraft and hopefully the success of this type of flying will lead to the opportunity for many more cadets to take to the air in the Robin aircraft with the Pathfinders.

On arrival at RAF Wyton the twelve cadets from three different Squadrons within the Warwickshire & Birmingham Wing were split up into groups of three so that they had the opportunity to fly with other people rather than their normal squadron contacts. They then went for their half hour flights in the Pathfinder Cub’s Robin. During their flight the pilot demonstrated the aircraft’s flying controls instruments and basic manoeuvres all of which helped to build upon the Airmanship and Principals of Flight theory that the cadets had been taught in the classroom at their Squadrons.

For many of the youngsters, this was their first flight as an Air Cadet and for those who had previous flying experience in the RAF’s Tutor, it was a good opportunity to compare their previous military flying experience with that of civil flying with the Pathfinders.

After his flight Cadet Cpl Matthew Waudby who had previous flying experience summarised his flight as a wonderful opportunity to just sit back and enjoy the flight without the pressure of having to take control and point the aircraft in any particular direction. Yes having the chance to fly an RAF aircraft yourself is amazing but for once it was good to be able to relax and just take in the thrill of the flight.

Feedback from the other cadets was very positive. Several of them felt that flying in the Robin had the added bonus of being able to fly with their colleagues and therefore have a chance to discuss the experience with their peers whilst it is happening rather than after the event.

While waiting for their flights and as an added bonus to a day of flying, the cadets were also given the opportunity to fly their very own circuit on one of the Wyton based Air Cadet Regional Activity Centre’s Vigilant glider simulators.

To cap off an outstanding day of Pathfinder flying the cadets were also treated to a flypast by a Bristol Blenheim that was visiting RAF Wyton the former home of the first WW2 Bomber Command Pathfinders.

Flight Lieutenant Paul Hincks Officer Commanding 121 (Nuneaton) Squadron, one of the staff who accompanied the cadets said, “I think I speak for all the cadets who flew today when I say that they have had unique opportunity to fly with the Pathfinders who have really given them a brilliant day to remember. I would also thank all those who have worked so hard to make today’s civil air experience flying possible, the staff at No.2 Flying Training School, Wing Commander Bernard Tisley, Flight Lieutenant Roger Smith and of course the members of the Pathfinder Club themselves”.

“Hopefully today’s flying success will lead to the opportunity for many more cadets to take to the air in the Robin with the Pathfinders”.