Flying is one of the primary activities of the Air Cadets. One of the aims of the ATC is to get every cadet up and flying in an aircraft. There are dedicated Air Experience Flights (AEF) around the country specially dedicated to flying cadets. In addition every opportunity is taken to fly with the RAF where possible, cadets may fly on transport aircraft such as Hercules, VC10 or Tristar. They may also get to fly on helicopters such as the Chinook and Merlin. Some lucky cadets may even end up flying in RAF fast jets such as the Hawk or Typhoon.
Air Experience Flying
The Grob Tutor aircraft is used by the Air Cadets for Air Experience Flying (AEF). AEFs are based around the country to allow easy access for cadets to fly. Cadets from Ferndown Squadron fly at No2 AEF based at RAF Boscombe Down near Salisbury.
Before you can fly you will need to pass your First Class Cadet Assessment. This will introduce you to the aircraft and its controls as well as airfield safety and the procedures you will have to follow when you go flying.
When you go flying you will travel up with a group of cadets from the Squadron. Before flying begins you will be given a thorough safety brief, this will consist of a video and a brief by the AEF Staff.
Once you have completed the safety brief you will be taken to be outfitted with your flying gear. You will be given a flying suit, parachute and ‘bone dome’ helmet. You will be walked out to the aircraft by a staff cadet and strapped in. Then you’re off! The flight should last between 20 and 30 minutes. If it’s your first flight the Pilot may just let you sit back and enjoy the flight. In later flights you will get to take control of the aircraft and perform aerobatics.
If you are lucky enough to go on Annual Camp with the Squadron you may get the opportunity to fly in an RAF aircraft or helicopter. Many of the personnel serving with the RAF are ex-cadets and they are always keen to provide flying opportunities for cadets where available.