For each cadet it was a new experience; upon arrival the instructors greeted the cadets and introduced them to the glider in which they were going to fly. Following the safety brief, the cadets were ready to venture out onto the airfield and have the experience of a lifetime.
Each had about 30 minutes each during which they were introduced to the basic principles of glider flying, learning about pitch and roll covered by Gliding Induction Courses (GIC) 1 and 2. However, it was not all about learning to fly as the cadets were also taught how to safely attach the launch cable, support the wing and give the correct launch signals.
Cadet Pope said: “It was a really exhilarating experience, and I thoroughly enjoyed working with the instructors at 625 squadron; they were really enthusiastic and I learned a lot from the opportunity to fly with them."
The chance to go gliding is a fantastic experience in the Air Training Corps, with the opportunity to also fly in the Vigilant powered glider. Three of the cadets had had the privilege to have flown in the Vigilant prior to this with 618 (Odiham) VGS last year, when the gliding school was temporarily based at RAF Lyneham during the Olympics last year.
Flying in the Vigilant is a very different experience. Cadet Sam Costain explains, "It was a surprisingly different experience to flying the Vigilant. First of all the Viking is launched by winch cable at an equivalent rate of 0-50mph in 3 seconds so very fast, and to get even higher up after that, you needed to find thermals, whereas the Vigilant is powered and launches like a normal aircraft. In addition to that the Viking is very quiet, especially once you have broken away from the winch cable."
For Cadet Madelyn Kitchen it was her first ever gliding experience, she said “This was my first ever glider flight so it was a very special day. The whole experience was really different from any other flying that I've done because it feels strange yet exciting flying with no engine.
Photo 1: Cadet Oly Pope on final approach to land.
Photo 2: (Left to Right) Cadets Sam Costain, Oly Pope, Charlie Potter, Madelyn Kitchen.