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Although I’ve not been a cadet for long I’ve been lucky enough to participate in a wide variety of things such as gliding, flying, shooting and camps but recently I had the opportunity to go on a hang-gliding course. The course, which takes place the first two weeks in January at the JSHPC (Joint Services Hang-Gliding and Paragliding Centre near Abergavenny in Wales), is designed to enable a few cadets from all over the country to learn how to hang-glide up to Elementary Pilot Level.

On the 1st of December I made the journey by train to the JSHPC where I was greeted by 11 other cadets from such places as Cornwall, Yorkshire, Newcastle and Wales. None of us really knew what to expect from the two weeks but as we were briefed on what we were doing and started getting to know one another things became a lot easier and everyone started to look forward to the two weeks. Unfortunately during the two weeks the weather wasn’t to our advantage and hang-gliding was mainly off the agenda as the conditions have to perfect to ensure our safety. To fill the time we had free when the weather was bad we were under control of an RAF PTi named Scottie who pushed us to our limits taking us Rock Climbing, Caving and Pot-holing all of which although exhilarating were absolutely terrifying. When the weat her finally did suit us we were taken to the top of a small slope and shown how to do the basics of hang-gliding. We started by only spending seconds in the air, getting used to the controls whilst people were holding on to ropes attached to each side of the sail and the nose – this was to ensure we were always controlled and lightweights such as myself did not blow away. Due to the weather though we only got the chance to learn the very basics on hang-gliding which although was a shame it did give us the chance to try paragliding, which requires different wind levels. So for two other days we tried paragliding on small hills learning how to control the paraglider and turn etc. Both were very enjoyable and an amazing experience. Due to the bad weather the 12 of us had a lot of free time, which we used to visit the nearby surroundings (ie shops, take-aways and watering holes).

The whole two weeks went by far too quickly and soon it was time for us to all go back to our respective parts of the country. Spending so much time with the same people enabled me to make some fantastic friends whilst taking part in what probably would be a once in a lifetime experience which few people have had the chance to do. I really do recommend this course to any cadets who want to experience something completely different. The only question is what can I do with the ATC next that will be able to top this?

Article Submitted by:-
Cdt Aimée Lockley - 121 (Nuneaton) Squadron
02 Feb 04

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