621VGS News

Posted on: April 28th, 2017 by admin

Whilst we haven’t been breaking any flying records for launch totals with the two aircraft, we have been gaining awards. Well – re-awards of instructor categories.    Five of our instructors have now completed the return to flying process with four following close behind.   At the moment we are co-located with 637 VGS and their instructors are also getting through their conversion courses as well.

There are still more instructors and Graded Pilots to get through the process, as well as some hoops to jump through, before we will be in a position to start providing courses to cadets.   That is where we want to be and we are working hard to get there.

Posted on: March 13th, 2017 by PhilW

OK so there’s been no posts for a bit, it’s been a little busy, but this is a biggy….

This weekend saw the return of flying for 621 VGS and 637 VGS.

1st Viking Lauch at Little Rissington

621 VGS are currently located at Little Rissington operating alongside 637 VGS.    This weekend saw the first flights for the two VGS since April 2014 when 2FTS paused all Air Cadet gliding.

This is the first step in many before we can start offering courses to cadets – but we will get there!

 

Posted on: December 5th, 2016 by admin

Staff from 621 VGS spent the weekend at Little Rissington, home of 637 VGS, this weekend to start the mandatory ground school training required prior to the VGS to restarting operations. Many of the ground school subjects require annual or bi-annual refresher training. Human Factors, Emergency Egress Drills, Soaring Protocol amongst some of the items covered over the two days.

Some of our staff have also restarted their return to flying. Sqn Ldr D Woolcock, Flt Lt T Webb and Flt Lt N Blake have visited RAF Syerston for a week and flown. Flt Lt T Webb, Flt Lt B House and CGI D Melling-Poyser have also spent time their learning about the new Skylaunch Winch.

With the move from Hullavington underway, several staff and some VGS friends have been helping box up the squadron kit to store over the next few months whilst we await our new home. Four of the five aircraft have been moved to Little Rissington to await their turn in the recovery process.

2017 is going to be exciting!

Posted on: September 19th, 2016 by admin

645 VGS have restarted Vigilant operations, starting with staff refresher training, under the supervision of 2 FTS.

Posted on: September 5th, 2016 by admin

Since the announcement in Parliament about the future of gliding in the Air Cadets, 621 VGS has known that it was unlikely that air cadet gliding would return before the airfield was sold. This week it was confirmed that the bulk of the airfield will be sold very soon.

625 VGS were first to start operations from Hullavington in 1992 with 621 VGS arriving the following year. 625 VGS became part of 621 VGS in 2013 shortly before Air Cadet gliding across the UK was “paused” in 2014. Since then we have tried to remain ready to resume operations, the continued operation of the 621 VGS Historic flight has enabled the squadron to retain both staff and the skills required to operate an airfield. This will also now cease to operate from Hullavington.

In over 23 years at Hullavington the two VGS would have flown over 200,000 launches and completed over 2000 Scholarship courses. As well as the scholarships, for the majority of cadets an Air Experience flight or Gliding Induction Course would be their first experience of flight, leading many into an aviation career.

621 VGS will continue to inspire the next generation to achieve, with a new home for the squadron to be found in the coming months.

Posted on: September 5th, 2016 by admin

This year marks the 75th Anniversary of the Air Cadets. As part of the celebration a Torch has been doing a relay around the UK visiting all the Regions from John O’Groats to Lands End. 621 VGS were honoured that Hullavington was chosen for the Torch to be handed over from Dorset and Wiltshire Wing to Bristol and Gloucester Wing within the South West Region.

621-VGS-Handover-300x143621-VGS-300x191

After a quick photo it was handed over to Alumni Mr Tony Eve a retired Flt Lt and squadron OC along with current cadet CDT Dimond from 1446 (Clevedon) Sqn. The torch spent the next 24 hours visiting squadrons through B&G Wing, before being handed over to Devon and Somerset Wing on the Clifton Suspension Bridge.

The original plan was for the Venture from the 621 VGS Historic Flight to fly the torch from Hullavington to 3 AEF at Colerne, and for them to fly it on to Gloucester Airport at the North of the wing. However the weather had decided not to play with low cloud hanging across the area all day preventing us achieving the delivery by air. The torch did get airborne briefly in a small gap – just enough for a photo.

75th Anniversary Torch

 

Posted on: September 2nd, 2016 by admin

Another fantastic week at the Royal International Air Tattoo with success for both 621 VGS and the 621 VGS Historic Flight.

The gliders were de-rigged on the Tuesday and loaded into their trailers.   A lot of work had been done to get the Historic flight trailers serviceable which was completed as the aircraft were being loaded.   The convoy headed to Fairford on Wednesday and after a mass rigging session, the Venture arrived by air and a Vigilant arrived by road with one of the new Skylaunch winches.   The display set-up was finalised and then the hanger (large marquee) stack attempted – was a bit of a squeeze.

RIAT 2016 Hanger Stack

With the aircraft surviving their first night under canvas, they were again arranged in the display area ready for Thursday’s initial round of the Concourse  D’Elegance.   With the aircraft and MT getting a thorough clean and polish before the judges arrived.   We even smartened up the display area with a lawn mower and maybe got a bit carried away with a little 621 branding exercise (see the photo further down)

Riat 2016 Display Setup

We had entered the Viking and the Sedbergh into the competition.  At the Aircrew Meet and Greet evening event it was announced that both aircraft had made it through to the next round.

This year Friday is not just a VIP day, but open to the public as well.  It’s also the day the RIAT Crew Challenge event is held.   We had entered a team and once again they did there best – just how good would be revealed later at the Gala Dinner.

621 RIAT 2016 Display

The RIAT Gala Dinner is a back-tie event attended by VIP’s and dignitaries from around the world, as well as selected Aircrew and participants from the Crew Challenge. It starts with a Sunset Ceremony, this year performed by the RAF Band and RAF Regiment Display team, with a Spitfire overhead before guests sit down for dinner.

After the food and speeches came the awards.  By now we knew, from the number of judging visits,  that our entries were in with a good chance.    What we didn’t know is that the Sedbergh WB922 of the 621 VGS Historic Flight would win the Best Civilian Aircraft in show!    Being instrumental in it’s creation and continued operation, Flt Lt Adam Clarke collected the award.    The awards for the Crew Challenge were then announced.   With our team “Fly 621” winning the Aircraft Recognition trophy collected by the team leader Flt Lt Derek Kitcher.

RIAT 2016 - Winnings

Saturday and Sunday are both full public display days.   Despite being at the very end of the flight line we were visited by lots of people over the weekend.   Many had stories to tell about their first flights in the historic aircraft as well as those in the current VGS aircraft – including one ex 621 staff member and current RAF Red Arrows pilot Flt Lt Mike Bowden!

RIAT 2016 - Red 4

After the display had finished we packed up our display, loaded the aircraft into their trailers ready for the trip home.   By the end of Monday we had the aircraft rigged back in the safety of the hanger at Hullavington.

Posted on: May 17th, 2016 by admin

621 VGS will be displaying a Viking at this years Royal International Air Tattoo at Fairford.   The aircraft will be displayed alongside aircraft from the 621 VGS Historic Flight and a Vigilant from 637 VGS.   We also hope to have a launch point caravan and one of the new Skylaunch Winches on display.

The aircraft will be:

– Viking (TBC)
– Vigilant (TBC)
– Sedbergh (WB922),
– Mk3 (XA310),
– Primary (WZ828)
– Venture (G-BTWC previously ZA656)

This display forms part of official celebrations to mark the 75th anniversary of the Air Training Corps.

 

Posted on: May 11th, 2016 by admin

Prior to being an instructor with 621 VGS, Flt Lt Rigsby had been an instructor with 625 VGS for a number of years as CGI through to Flt Lt, attaining A2* senior instructor grade.    Whilst still carrying out his existing role as the  Technical Officer, he took on the role of acting OC 625VGS, leading the squadron through a very difficult 2 year period. He recruited new members of staff and encouraging and training them to work through the flying grades to become instructors. As a direct result of that ongoing effort, 625 VGS was once again able to fly good numbers of cadets at GIC level, and to train a number of cadets on gliding scholarship courses.

Upon the amalgamation of 625 VGS with 621 VGS in August 2013, Flt Lt Rigsby took on the new task of Deputy OC 621 VGS Hullavington.

In January 2014 he was recommended for a Commandant Air Cadets Commendation.   It was awarded at a squadron Dining In Night to celebrate the 75th Anniversary of the Air Cadets.

Posted on: March 16th, 2016 by admin

Certainly something to talk about at this 700 day mark…

Following the statement to Parliment on the future of the VGS movement we now know that 621 VGS will continue as one of the 11 VGS to remain.  In the statement it is written that 621 VGS will move to RNAS Merryfield in Somerset.

RNAS Merryfield is bigger – but we will have to share.   The airfield is currently used extensively by helicopters from RNAS Yeovilton.

Merryfield

Future home of 621 VGS

 

Whilst we welcome this news, our thoughts are with our colleagues whose squadrons will be disbanded.   These VGS will have inspired many thousands of cadets to want to become pilots, and many more to realise their potential to achieve goals higher than they imagined.    Celebrate well your squadrons achievements and join us, if you can, in ensuring that there remains a chance for Air Cadets to experience flight in a glider.