We continue to welcome squadrons to visit and make use of the Part Task Trainer (PTT).
On Sunday 24th Jan we had cadets from 290 (Weston-Super-Mare) and 2146 (South East Bristol) Squadrons visiting.
As well as a tour of the aircraft in the hanger and training on the PTT, cadets spent time in lessons for their First Class and Senior/Master subjects.
On the evening of Tuesday 26th Jan, not our usual weekend working, we opened up for 2002 (Kingswood) Squadron to make use of the PTT and see the aircraft.
Whilst have the facilities available – please arrange to come visit and make use of the resources!
Well – there’s a thing…..
We’ve been here before though! 621 VGS moved to Hullavington from Weston-Super-Mare in 1993 after the airfield there was sold for developers. (It has only just been built on in the last couple of years!).
More when we know it….
I did have another non news article written to mark this next date milestone passing without something to tell. However, some good news squeezed in before the deadline.
On Friday 4th December 2 FTS launched a Viking at RAF Syerston.
So they have one that has flown on one day. It’s a start, and the first real glimmer of hope we’ve had. There are still giant steps to be made, lets hope more are forward than backward!
Who would have thought it would take this long. We are still here though. As soon as we get aircraft we can start the process of getting re-qualified to fly cadets again – what we are here to do!
During the current pause in VGS Gliding, OC 2 FTS arranged for VGS staff to fly in the Grob Tutor with the Air Experience Flights (AEF). The slots have been arranged on days where no ATC Cadets have been available, so as not to reduce the opportunities provided to cadets. The sessions at 3 AEF are split between gliding instructors from 621 VGS Hullavington and from 624 VGS at Chivenor.
Commencing in November 2014, 3 AEF have been able to arrange to provide 2-one day sessions each month, each with 8 half hour flying slots for VGS staff with 4 flying in the morning and the second 4 in the afternoon. The ninth such day session took place on 4 February 2015, in bright sunshine, with a mix of 7 instructors from 621 and 1 from 624. After so long without gliding it was really enjoyable for VGS staff to take part in 3 AEF’s activities in such a friendly and welcoming atmosphere.
It was interesting to see how the AEF operations differed from VGS operations where the morning briefing is communal for all staff, whereas at AEF each pilot self-briefs in Operations. Interesting too is the way each Tutor pilot is allocated a designated area to fly in. Equipped with a transponder, each Tutor is monitored by Bristol Radar and receives warnings of other traffic that may affect its flight. The radio workload seemed quite high after the relative tranquillity of a glider cockpit!
On behalf of all 621 VGS staff it is timely to give our warm thanks to the members of 2 FTS and to 3 AEF for enlivening our gliding pause in such a positive way.
Cadets from 2146 (South-East Bristol), 290 (Weston Super Mare) and 914 (Glastonbury) Squadrons visited us on Saturday.
The cadets were first briefed on the role of the VGS, the reasons behind the current “Pause” and the current plans for return to flying. They were then shown round one of the Viking gliders, getting the chance to have a sit in the aircraft too.
As well as the aircraft, the cadets were shown around the Tractor, Winch, Launch Point Caravan and Glider Trailer, some of which the cadets don’t usually get to see.
It was great to be able to tell them that the first flight in the recovery process had taken place the previous day too!
Whilst the pause to Air Cadet flying continues, Central Gliding School at RAF Syerston have been able to borrow a K21 from the RAF Gliding Soaring Association to fly. They’ve now opened up the offer to some of the VGS staff and our Flt Lt Andy Rigsby (pictured in the front seat) was available to take them up on it. K21’s are not new to Air Cadets gliding. In 1983 ten Schleicher ASK21s, named Vanguards, were purchased in order to start the conversion of Air Cadet gliding from wood to GRP aircraft. In the end the Air Cadets purchased one hundred Grob 103 Twin Acro’s – or as we call them the Viking TX1.
We congratulate Sarah Hall on completing her Officers Initial Course at RAF Cranwell last month.
Sarah became a member of staff with 625 VGS at Hullavington, as a Flight Staff Cadet, having completed a Basic Glider Training course (what is now a called Gliding Scholarship). After leaving cadets Sarah continued as a Civilian Gliding Instructor, and now, after the amalgamation of the two squadrons is a staff member with 621 VGS.
On taking up her role as Deputy Chief Flying Instructor, it was suggested she became a uniformed member of staff and so Sarah started the application process to become an officer in the Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve (Training).
The selection process involved
- a detailed application form,
- an interview with Officer Commanding 621 VGS Sqn Ldr Dave Woolcock MBE,
- an interview with the Regional Gliding Officer Wg Cdr Tony Clavell,
- two days at the Officer and Aircrew Selection Centre (OASC) at RAF Cranwell,
- five days on the Officers Initial Course (OIC), also at RAF Cranwell.
At OASC students are divided into syndicates on the first day for discussions on current affairs, planning exercises and leadership exercises in the hanger. The second day consists of an interview with two boarding officers.
The OIC course covers drill, uniform standards, oral communication skills, leadership, defense writing, interview techniques and briefings on drugs policy and child protection.
Sarah said: “Hard work but I enjoyed it a lot more than I thought I would.”
Not only did Sarah bring home her Queens Commission scroll, but also a certificate for “Top Student” on her course.
With Air Cadet Gliding still paused, members of staff have been finding different ways of keeping busy, from hiking in Brecon Beacons, cruising the canals to moving house.
Our Deputy Chief Flying Instructor, Flt Lt Adam Clarke, has not only been keeping his flying skills toned in the Tiger Moth he has a share in, but he also had the chance to fly a Spitfire.
“The day consisted of a morning of ground school learning about the Spitfire’s systems and an afternoon flight. It is an absolute delight to fly, very sensitive in pitch and incredibly crisp yet smooth in roll, but then we were travelling at 300 mph !” he said.
What have you been doing? Send us your story!
The first aim of the Air Cadets is to “Promote and encourage a practical interest in aviation and the Royal Air Force among young people”, something which 621 VGS works hard to achieve. Therefore it is no wonder several of our current and ex-members of staff are building careers in the aviation industry or Armed Services.
Today we congratulation CGI Johnny Beech on achieving his Commercial Pilots License.
Johnny spent 18 months training with CTC Wings spending several months in flying in New Zealand.