I remember waking up on the 22 nd Feb 2010 and looking out my window to find the roads covered deeply in snow, this was the first day of my Gliding Scholarship, luckily we have a 4x4 so getting there was not a problem, as for the 4 hours on the train to get back was a different story. As we approached RAF Cosford the roads started to get clearer, I started to get more excited that I may actually fly on that day.
When all the admin was done and out the way, I met two people whom where almost finishing their Gliding Scholarship and waiting for the weather to allow them to ‘go solo'. I was told to listen out for the siren which signals the met office brief. I found these quite confusing at first but as soon as I worked out what was being said, I then remembered it all related to what I had learnt in the Air Cadet syllabus.
My name was called to fly first this day, I was taken to get my parachute and to be shown how to adjust my seat in the cockpit to my height. After my pilot explained about the FRC (flight reference cards) we lined up on the runway for the first take off of my course…
We started to go though the training I needed for the course and I was then told to take control and demonstrate what I had learnt. The words ‘You have control' still sends a tingle down my spine and makes me jump into action, I was hard to get to terms with at first that I had control of a glider. It was amazing.
After 5 hours flying over a few weeks my pilot said I should be able to ‘go solo' after the next week but on arriving the next weekend I learnt that the weather was not safe for me to ‘go solo' but he took me up to explain why – I'm glad I didn't as we come to approach the runway at almost a 45° angle to the right!
I then had to miss two weeks as there was a residential course running over Easter, I then come back for one week and had to recap some of the stuff I had learnt and I also had a different pilot this week so flying was a little different but I was very glad to be up in the air once more.
The next week I had organised my squadron to run for sport relief, then after coming back for a week the ash cloud closed all UK air space for two weeks!
After a few more weeks of not being able to fly one week and able to fly the next (one of which was for me to lead the Cadet 150 Parade in Birmingham), I come back on a beautiful day with only slightly strong wind at lunch time I was so excited to fly, I had a different pilot again, we did some recapping which I admittedly had forgotten a lot… as disappointed as it was to hear I had ran out of hours for the course and was awarded Blue Wings but I will still wear them with pride and will always remember this course.