621VGS News

News from July 2009

Posted on: July 23rd, 2009 by admin

Once again a Viking, this time ZE529, acheived a top 20 position in the Concours D Elegance competition at the Royal International Air Tattoo 2009.

RIAT 2009 Team

621 VGS displayed two Vikings at one end of the Air Cadet display area with two Vigilants from 612VGS displayed at the other. With the aircraft open to the public for the majority of the event 621VGS were able to attract the attention of several hundred young people, not to mention adults, during the weekend.

Starting on the Wednesday, the aircraft were transported to RIAT and setup, staff were checked into the Air Cadet campsite accommodation. On the Thursday the aircraft were moved a number of times to allow for the Air Cadet display to expand slightly. With several of the team at Bucking Palace for the Project YOU Garden Party, it was left to a few to prep the aircraft for their inspection. Once inspected they had a chance to tour the static display.

RIAT2009

During Friday, the VIP day and the Public Days at the weekend the stand was always busy. Amongst the guests to visit the stand was the Chief of the Air Staff, Prince Michael of Kent, Harry Potter star Matthew Lewis and The Lord Mayor of Bristol who has since completed a Gliding Scholarship with 621VGS.

621VGS entered a team into the Crew Challenge held at Friday Island water park. Led by Flt Lt Nick Blake, Flight Staff Cadets Nick Jeffery, Rebecca Kwo and Tristan Woolcock with CGI Nev Cullingford took part in pontoon building, raft racing, aircraft recognition, casualty rescue, dragon boat racing and an abstacle course.

RAIT2009 Crew Challenge

With entry into the Crew Challange and the aircraft getting into the top twenty, six of the adult members of staff were able to attend the Gala Dinner with Guest of Honour HRH Princess Anne and Captain Timothy Lawrence. The RAF Band played for the lowering of the standard with an impressive display overhead consisting of Mk14 Spitfire with a Typhoon no more than a few feet from its tail. After the pre-dinner drinks in a marquee annex to a hanger the guests filed into the main hanger area for dinner – the tables set amongst a Typhoon, Global Hawk UAV and an EC275 helicopter.

Both aircraft were returned to Hullavington on the Monday morning ending a successfull weekend.

Posted on: July 21st, 2009 by admin

Staff from 621 VGS displayed an aircraft at a Buckingham Palace Garden Party as part of Project YOU – Youth Organisations in Uniform.

The aircraft was transported in its trailer through Central London to Wellington Barracks, where the funeral of Lt Col Rupert Thorneloe, the most senior British Army officer to die in action since the Falklands, was taking place in the Wellington Barracks chapel.

621's Trailer in London

Due to the arrival on Lynx helicopter, set to land into the area designated for the Project YOU parking, the entry time was delayed and so the land rover and trailer proceeded to circuit St James’s Park until entry was permitted.

After security checks in Wellington Barracks the time came when the assembled organisations were called forward to the Palace. With the Queen in residence entry had to be through the tight Electricians Gate on the Southern side of the gardens. This required the trailer to be decoupled and some pushing and shoving of the trailer by hand in order to negotiate the tight corner.

Once in the aircraft was rigged on the grass in front of the rear steps of the Palace. The concerns of the watching grounds keepers had already been foreseen and special pads had been made to spread the weight of the aircraft fuselage dolly wheels so as not to damage the Royal lawn. After rigging the trailer was hidden out of sight by the garden shed and the aircraft was pushed to the bottom of the garden to form the centrepiece of the Air Cadet display.

During the early part of the day several hundred people from the participating youth organisations spent time visiting the stands with local dignitaries. Lunch was served consisting of, amongst other items, tea and cucumber sandwiches. With the sun shining ice-cream tubs were offered to guests on silver platters.

On time, HRH Price on Wales and the Duchess of Cornwall entered the garden and the national anthem was played. He then proceeded to tour the various organisations stands. On arriving at the Air Cadet stand Sqn Ldr Dave Woolcock introduced the Viking with FSC Ellie Nicholls, Flt Lt Brian House, Flt Lt Nick Blake and myself Plt Off Phil Woods. With Ellie sat in the aircraft, both Charles and Camilla took an interest in the aircraft before being introduced to cadets from Middlesex wing.

621 at Buckingham Palace

At the end of the event, the displays needed to be cleared within the hour. Care was taken as there was little room to manoeuvre the aircraft, being possibly the biggest single item, between the other organisations equipment back into the trailer. Departing through the Electricians Gate required the same effort as entering, as well as the traffic being stopped to allow the combination to pass round a set of bollards in the centre of the carriageway.

Pausing only for a quick photo taken passing the corner of the Palace the aircraft was transported back to Hullavington before the staff proceeded to join the RIAT detachment.

621 VGS Trailer outside Palace