Since joining the Air Training Corps in 1995 I have always had
the view that when flying opportunities turn up, get your name down
and get the chance to go. The first time I flew with the ATC was
in a Bulldog, the flight was only 20minutesbut it gave me the incentive
to want to fly again and again. After that flight I started to read
things in magazines and on posters about cadets who had obtained
Scholarships and other flying courses, like everyone else I took
the view of "that wont happen to me". Then I flew in a
Vigilant Motor Glider for the first time, on a Gliding Induction
Course (GIC),again this was only 20 minutes but at the end of the
flight my instructor told me to go for a Gliding Scholarship (GS).
At this stage I knew very little about it, a few months later quite
a few places came up for GS courses. I went off on a GS, not knowing
what to expect. I flew from RAF Little Rissington, an airfield steeped
in history and right in the heart of the Cotswolds. The GS is an
8-hour course, in that time you are instructed how to handle the
aircraft and how to fly circuits of the airfield. At the end of
my 8 hours I was assessed and did a ghosted solo circuit, basically
I flew from take off to landing without my instructor saying anything.
I was awarded the Silver wings; I was lucky really, as the whole
aim of a GS is to obtain the Dark Blue wings.
|Dark Blue GS Wings - Awarded
on completion of a GS
Silver GS Wings - Awarded on
completion of a GS
including Solo circuit.
I really wanted to continue my flying, as it was something that
I really enjoyed at the time. However, I knew that to get to the
next stage, the Advanced Gliding Training (AGT), would be very difficult
as the courses are very few and far between. I took a 2-year gap
and then decided to push for the AGT.
In January 2001 I got on to an AGT course back at Little Rissington.
The AGT is 9 to 10 Hours in length in which time you have to do
5 true solo circuits of the airfield. It takes quite some time to
get to a standard at which the instructor is happy to send you solo.
When you get to that standard and your instructor asks you if your
happy to go solo, the feeling is very strange, it's a mix of excitement
and pure fear. I took off and looked across and there was no one,
just me at 800 feet in control of £125,000 of aircraft, then
it suddenly sinks in that you have to get this thing down and your
training takes over. It's the best feeling there is when you get
out of the aircraft for the first time after a solo, you can't help
but grin! I completed my AGT in 9 hours 15 minutes; I had become
one of only just over 100 cadets in the country to be authorised
to wear gold wings. On the same day I completed my AGT I asked if
I could stay and continue my flying training. This would mean massive
commitment, and a lot of hard work, but well worth it when you get
to fly for virtually nothing!
From then on I have tried to work hard at my Volunteer Gliding
School (VGS), the harder I work the more flying I get, its worth
it, and its something I would recommend any cadet to do. I feel
very proud of myself to have got to the stage I have in the time
I have. After only 9 Months I have now done nearly 40 hours in the
My flying training now is preparing me to be able to take cadets
on their first 20-minute flight. Hopefully when I get to take that
first cadet on a flight they too will see what flying is all about
and they will think about it the same as I did. I hope flying with
me will inspire that cadet to push and work hard to get out of the
ATC what I have, and will like me get the chance to put something
back into an organisation that is the only one to give you this
sort of opportunity.
This is the crest of
637 Volunteer Gliding School
Self Launching Touring Motor Glider
An aerial view of RAF Little Rissington,
where I conduct my flying training. Set in the heart of the Cotswolds,
there are very few more beautiful airfield settings in the country.
RAF Little Rissington was once home to the Red Arrows and the
Central Flying School as well as the USAF.