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I started the two weeks of my work experience at RAF Cottesmore working in VASS (visitor aircraft support section) what they do there is whatever aircraft comes in from a different base they see to, whether it is refuelling or emergency landings. The day that I was there we refuelled a sea king and marshalled a hawk into a hanger. After that the work experience coordinator asked me if I wanted to do anything that would suit my future job in the RAF, I asked if I could go to the RAF Police Dog Section and an engineering squadron.

Cpl Sasha Dowdall with RAF Police Dog Bow – Click to enlargeFirstly I went to the Dog Section on the Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday, I met the Dogs and staff. They showed me what the dogs do and showed me around the section I told them that I had been part of the Nuneaton Dog Training Club with my two boxer dogs and new quite a bit about dogs. On Tuesday we just spent a day walking round the section and getting to know each other. On Wednesday we did a display for a school that came from the near village of Oakham , Rutland . The team did a little display on how the dogs work at the section. The dog that I was acquainted with was called Bow, he was new to the section but a lovely character, and he knew when he was working and when he could play. Whenever one of the Staff put his collar on he knew he had to work and I saw a change in his personality.

The rest of the week was Awesome I went to 800 squadron Naval Strike Wing to work with the harriers that were there. First half of the day I was on the line in which I sat in the cockpit and set the pilots GPS, also make sure the aircraft was ok for taking off. The second half of the day was the engineering side of the work where I had a harrier come in with a damaged canopy and I helped to repair it.

RAF Police Dog Bow sinks his teeth into Cpl Sasha Dowdall as she enacts the part of the bad guy – Click to enlargeFriday came all too fast and I was having so much fun at the Dog Section. I had to leave at 2pm to make the 2 hour journey home (by the way I stayed at a BNB for the week)

The next week I was there I made a train journey to and from the base I was in the ATC tower for two days then I went down to the caravan where I had to inspect the aircraft coming in; checking if they were safe to land!

All in all I thought my two weeks at RAF Cottesmore was ace! I went back in the summer holidays for a further two weeks and stayed with the dog section, we did wind scents and building searches. I took part in being the criminal and infact taking the dogs bites. It was great fun and I loved every minute of it even if I had a huge German shepherd hanging off my arms!

If you have the chance to do work experience and you want to go in the RAF go on RAF Cottesmore website to contact the work experience coordinator.

Article Submitted by:-
Cpl Sasha Dowdall - 121 (Nuneaton) Squadron
14 Sep 07

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