South West Region

New Course for South West Air Cadets at Upavon Gliding

Young Air Cadets are taking to the “virtual skies” at their Upavon-based gliding squadron in a new trainer generously funded by The Royal Air Force Charitable Trust. Their aviation-themed course has a realistic ‘Viking’ glider cockpit, sophisticated software and a large three-screen display, all well suited to demonstrating and honing their flying skills.  The trainer nestles tidily in a smart well lit room at the headquarters of 622 Volunteer Gliding Squadron on Salisbury Plain in Wiltshire. The course is now available to squadrons and wings across the whole of the Air Cadet South West Region. Commanding Officer, Squadron Leader Steve Goddard, explains more: “The squadron has had great success with staff retention and this course is a way to give back and thank our local customers, the Air Cadets in Dorset & Wiltshire and Hampshire & Isle of Wight, for the many fantastic opportunities extended to us over recent months. “Our training team keeps the “teaching” element of the squadron alive by introducing several aviation subjects through this course.  The cadets seem to gain lots while the squadron’s instructors and staff practice and pass on their presentation and leadership skills to them.” It is a two-day weekend residential experience for groups of 10 to 12 interested cadets, normally aged 14 or 15 and studying at leading cadet level.  It is delivered by keen young gliding school staff, many being current or former cadets, in a relaxed but busy atmosphere. Nobody is left hanging about!  While each cadet experiences the PTT, the programme allows others to enjoy several team building and initiative exercises, to learn flying-related topics such as meteorology, to practice presentation skills in groups and individually, to visit the airfield and to discover the office once occupied by Lord Trenchard, “father” of The Royal Air Force. Cadet David Bradshaw, age 14, from 171 Christchurch Squadron in Dorset Wiltshire Wing enjoyed a recent weekend. “It was a really great time away with many different activities.  The trainer is an interesting way to start planning circuits and learn how to identify features from the air.  Time well spent, well worth booking a place!” The weekend includes meals at Upavon and overnight accommodation in the South West Region Activities Centre at nearby Boscombe Down, subject to a normal cadet messing contribution, and is fully supervised by gliding squadron staff. Enquiries by interested cadets in South West Region should be made through your OC and Wing Flying & Gliding Officer to the Training Officer at 622 VGS.
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