After many weeks of waiting finally Cadets Thomas Percival and Bohdan Mandziuk (myself) arrived at RAF Brize Norton for a week long camp.
Tired, we settled into our accommodation and headed over to the junior ranks mess for dinner which was very good indeed!
After an early start the next morning we headed airside to take the camp photo which incidentally was in front of the A400M Atlas aircraft which is soon to replace the legendary C-130 Hercules. Having taken the photograph we spent the rest of that day looking around the survival equipment and various logistics squadrons.
The next day we visited various flying squadrons, including 99sqn which is home to the RAF C-17 fleet where both of us were privileged with the opportunity of spending 5 minutes in the pilots seat of their centenary special tail aircraft which in itself was a very special aircraft to see.
That evening we got some very good news that everyone was going to fly on Thursday. 12 cadets would fly on the Voyager (Air Tanker) aircraft and the rest would head to RAF Benson for some AEF flying in the tutor. Everyone was looking forward to that!
Wednesday was met with an exciting feeling by all cadets as we awaited our flying sessions the next day. Having looked around various areas of the airfield itself including a spectacular visit to the fire section where everybody was soaked through by the end, we headed back to the junior ranks mess to have dinner before going to bed. After dinner we received some very bad news indeed. The Voyager flying had been cancelled altogether and the AEF places reduced. That meant that four cadets would not be flying on Thursday, I was one of them. It must be said that amongst the disappointment spirits were still high. The next morning after breakfast all the cadets who were due to go flying departed to Benson for their flight. I was with three other cadets awaiting news on what we would be doing. We were told to go and relax until nine o’clock that morning so we all had a two hour lie-in, fantastic!
At nine o’clock we met Flying Officer Hollins who gave us some great news! The Fire Section had agreed to take us for some work experience that would last until four o’clock. When we reached the gates for airside our transport awaited. Two Fire Fighting vehicles came to collect us!
Once we had got to know the guys there we split up to do various activities. I went out and filled a 90 litre fire extinguisher which was going to be slung under a Wildcat Lynx helicopter to act as a weight for some training. Having ate lunch we were going to set off for a training session with the fire crews. It was fantastic to be involved with and in an area which is highly classified, put it this way we were the first cadets ever too enter that zone. I and another cadet rode around for the rest of that day sat on the top of one of the vehicles. We thanked the Fire Crews for what was arguably one of the best days we had on camp and headed back.
We woke up the next morning to a surprise! Everyone was going flying over Wales in a C-17 Globemaster. Having cleared security we boarded the aircraft and we were away at 3000ft over Wales. Admittedly everybody was freezing when the ramp door opened due to the change in temperature but they were enjoying it! Once we had landed we got on the coaches and headed for home. This was the worst part of the camp because after what was a stressful situation with the flying everyone had such a great time they didn’t want it to end.
A massive thank you to all the staff involved especially Flying Officer J.Carter who was a fantastic Camp Commandant. Also we remember Squadron Leader Roger Smith who would have been our camp commandant but sadly passed away earlier in the month. Rest In Peace Sir and thank you for everything you gave to the organisation to make it the best you could! Again thank you to everyone involved for a fantastic week on camp.
View more images of the RAF Brize Norton Camp