One of the main attractions in joining the Air Training Corps (ATC) is that of flying.
The Air Training Corps have Air Experience Flights (AEF) at various airfields throughout the country. The aircraft used is the Grob Tutor two seater trainer and is the same type of aircraft that Prince William learnt to fly in.
In Immingham’s case the nearest Air Experience Flight is at based at RAF Cranwell, again the same base that the Prince learnt to fly from, and recently some of the newer cadets made the journey to have their first flight. Among them were the two sisters – Talia and Aysha Herron. It would be the first time they had ever flown in a two seater aircraft.
On arriving along with the other cadets they were given a full safety brief and shown videos of the aircraft and the type of sortie they would fly. It was then on to be kitted out in the correct flying gear. Both were fitted out with flying suit, gloves, a parachute and the helmet – the veritable “ bone-dome” and then they await their turn to fly.
As Talia recalled “It was a bit worrying at this time with just sitting waiting to be called forward. Both Aysha and myself felt nervous as we walked out to our individual aircraft.”
It wasn’t long before they were both strapped in the aircraft and ready for their flight. Once plugged into the intercom system the pilot, introduced himself and explained what is going to happen. The pilots themselves are all volunteers and fly the cadets in their own spare time – in fact they just love what they are doing…flying.
Talia and Aysha were to be in the air together but would take a separate route in the skies above Lincolnshire. So what was it like on their flights?
Let the cadets speak for themselves:
Talia said “We flew cross country over the Newark area. It was the most amazing experience .I was asked if I would like to experience aerobatics and I nervously replied – yes. We did loops, barrel rolls and stall turns. The pilot was so nice and made me feel so relaxed and all my nerves just disappeared. He even let me take control for a while. For me it was incredible and something I will always remember.”
This thrill was echoed by Aysha,” We headed towards Lincoln and I had magnificent views of the cathedral as we soared over the city. We broke threw the clouds and it was like flying over cotton wool – it was incredible. The sun was shining and I was glad I was wearing my sun glasses. I, too, was given the chance to do aerobatics and I have to say it was the most amazing experience ever. The loops were brilliant! I also had the chance to take over the controls for a short time. The whole experience was just brilliant”
All of the cadets were unanimous in their opinion that flying is what makes the Air Cadets different from most other youth organizations – and all for free!