My first camp to RAF Cottesmore took place this month. It was the first camp I have been on other than Elan Valley . The camp lasted for one week (2-9 th August). I arrived at the station to find out that I was to stay in a tent for the next week with 4 other people I didn't know.
As RAF Cottesmore is joint force harrier, which accommodates air and naval men and women, the ATC decided to invite some sea cadets from around the region. I got to my tent to find out that I was stuck with two sea cadets and two other air cadets. Two Geordies and two Brummies were not the ideal people to stay with for a week as the accents came very annoying.
We started off the first day with getting to know people and having many boring briefings on fire and security regulations. Not the best start to your camp. We were then told what sort of things we would be doing for the remainder of the week. The list of things grew and grew with some exciting things popping up. We were told we would be doing some thrilling things such as laser quest, AEF (Air Experience Flying) and Shooting.
The first night of living in a tent was not the best. It had to rain didn't it! It didn't help with the position my not so comfy bed as I got soaked through as well as all my belongings. I started to dread the week but it soon perked up and I had an amazing time.
On the second day in we went to RAF Wyton to do some air experience flying in a Grob Tutor. I had been flying once before so it wasn't anything new to me but whilst I was in control of the plane the pilot asked me to go upside down and do some aerobatics, at first I was a bit weary but soon had no problem with doing some awkward manoeuvres such as stall turns. If I ever get the chance to go flying again I will definitely go straight into aerobatics.
During the camp the two flights took part in an inter-flight drill competition where unfortunately my flight lost. Although my flight did not win, we had a brilliant experience as we had incorporated naval drill into our own drill. Some of the manoeuvres were very different to how we do them in the ATC but it was nice to see the difference. In my opinion, naval drill seems very lazy compared to air force drill but the reasons were soon explained.
The camp also gave us the chance to do some shooting practice on the base range. I was hoping to qualify for the L98 but we ran out of time so I stuck with firing the 22 no8. Nobody achieved marksman, however there were some excellent shots and everyone enjoyed the day.
Over the week, we also had the chance to visit the National Space Centre in Leicester , Duxford Imperial War Museum and the harrier maintenance section on base. Out of all of these I found the Harrier maintenance section the most interesting as we were shown how and why things were done.
The highlight of the week, for me was the visit to the fire section. Whilst we were there we were shown around the RAF Fire trucks and were shown the equipment and tools used to cut aircraft and other things. To make the visit more fun, the fire department had organised some races for us to take part in between the two flights. We got soaked! Me and some other cadets thought it was unfair that Squadron Leader Mc Carroll was bone dry, so we decided to wet him as well. During our time at the fire section, a Hercules landed, it was a brilliant atmosphere as the firemen were on standby. The fire section is right next to the runway so the aircraft landed right in front of us. So close that when we all waved jokingly, we saw a little white glove in the cockpit wave back at us. What a sight! It was an amazing experience.
Sadly, the station was on a stand down through out the week we were there so we were unable to visit any other sections. We also were unable to see any Harriers taking off but the Hercules made up for it.
If I had the chance to go on this camp again I would defiantly sign up for it. We did so many things, it's impossible to write about them all. Not only was the camp thrilling, it was also an excellent experience.