621VGS News

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.


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.

Posted on: March 10th, 2016 by admin

Today a written statement was made to both Houses of Parliament on the future of Air Cadet Flying.


Posted on: February 2nd, 2016 by admin

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.

290 & 2146 Visit 24 Jan 16

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.

290 & 2146 Visit PTT

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!

Posted on: January 19th, 2016 by admin

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….

Posted on: December 7th, 2015 by admin

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!

Posted on: August 29th, 2015 by admin

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!

Posted on: March 2nd, 2015 by admin

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.

Flying at 3AEF

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.