AIR cadets in Steyning have visited two of the biggest international airshows, as well as a multitude of RAF stations, in the past few weeks.
Flt Lt Dave Emsley, officer commanding 1140 (Steyning) Squadron Air Training Corps, said very few cadets had had the same opportunities that had been available to his squadron.
The Royal international Air Tattoo, the world’s largest military airshow, was celebrating the 50th anniversary of The Red Arrows.
Cpl Sam Smith and Cpl Todd Roper said: “The cadets were amazed by the incredible skill and ability of the pilots as they pulled off +6 G manoeuvres.”
They saw aircraft from a huge range of nations on Saturday, July 19, one of the hottest days of the summer.
“It’s fair to say there are few other places where you can see the exotic and exquisite helicopters and fighter jets that line up along the full length of the taxiway,” they added.
Back at their campsite, the cadets were tucking into an Hawaiian-themed barbecue when a Spitfire and the Eurofighter Typhoon roared overhead in a joint display, coming in low over the camp on their final approach.
The cadets said it was a nice surprise that rounded off a splendid day of aircraft displays.
The next day, Sunday, saw visits to RAF Northholt, where the cadets experienced an RAF lunch in the Junior Ranks Mess, and the Battle of Britain bunker at RAF Uxbridge.
Cpl Smith and Cpl Roper said: “They were given a private tour around the bunker. Cadets learned how the Battle of Britain was commanded and how RAF Uxbridge played such a vital role as command and control headquarters for the south east of England’s air defence.”
Steyning cadets also visited Farnborough International Airshow, where they were able to get on board fast jets like the BAe Hawk and the Eurofighter Typhoon.
Cpl Smith and Cpl Roper said: “Yet more brilliant weather ensured a brilliant performance from the Airbus A380 and the A400M.
“The Red Arrows also put on a star display, with unique moves celebrating the 50th anniversary and in remembrance of the pilots that sadly lost their lives in 2011.”
On Thursday, July 24, cadets visited the Gatwick Aviation museum. They were given a private tour, including the engine display and static aircraft. They also had the chance to crawl thorough an Avro Shackleton and sit in the pilot, navigator and bomb aimer seats.
Last weekend, a selection of cadets from 1440 (Shoreham) Squadron and 1140 (Steyning) Squadron travelled to Crowborough Training Camp to learn various bushcraft and fieldcraft skills.
On the Friday, the cadets took the controls in flight simulators and a new recruit, Cdt Jamie Smith, was enrolled into the Steyning squadron.
There was a room inspection at 7am on the Saturday, then breakfast was cooked from military ration packs on hexamine burners, the start of the cadets’ training in living in the field.
During the day, the cadets learned first aid and then had to put it into practice in a surprise casualty simulation during the knife skills session.
A night exercise was used to teach camouflage, concealment and military hand signals to move silently and unobserved through the training area.
Activities on the Sunday were shelter building and fire lighting, with competitions for the best shelter and the fastest self-sustaining fire.
Cpl Smith and Cpl Roper said it had been an amazing weekend.
“2014 has already been a very busy and enjoyable year for Steyning Air Cadets and I’m sure the rest will not disappoint,” they added.
Boys and girls can now join the air cadets at the start of school year eight and 1140 will be recruiting early in October.
Call 01903 813113, email firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.1140sqn.org.uk for more information.