Cadet Flight Sergeant Alex Burch has become the latest Royal Air Force Air Cadet to achieve a Grade 2 Glider Pilot qualification in the Air Cadet’s Viking Glider.
Flight Sergeant Burch, who is a cadet at 1300 (Sutton in Ashfield), achieved this unique award whilst undertaking duties as a Flight Staff Cadet at 644 Volunteer Gliding Squadron, RAF Syerston in Nottinghamshire.
This qualification marks the latest milestone in the return to flying program in the RAFAC gliding community as Alex is the first Viking FSC graded pilot since the pause.
Ales said: “In September 2017, I began my Silver Wings Gliding Scholarship (SGS) with 644 Volunteer Gliding Squadron based at RAF Syerston.
“Whilst on the course, which was conducted over a number of weekends, I was taught how to fly the Grob Viking T1 glider.
“Once I was of an acceptable standard, I was sent on a check flight. On completion of the check flight, I was cleared to fly solo.
“The first solo consisted of a single launch, circuit and landing. After completing my solo flight and a short exam, I was awarded my Silver Gliding Wings on 26th November 2017.
After successfully completing his scholarship, Alex remained with the squadron as a Flight Staff Cade to assist other members of the squadron with daily tasks such as briefing cadets, inspecting winches, helping with the aircraft at the launch point and getting cadets ready for their flights.
As a Staff Cadet on a VGS also gave Alex the opportunity to continue his gliding training towards his Gold Wings. This allowed Alex to build on his existing knowledge of managing the glider in the air, more advanced maneuvers and completing vie further solo launches.
In addition to this Alex also had the opportunity to learn how to operate the winches and become a winch operator. In this role it is my responsibility to launch the gliders into the air, allowing other cadets to get into the air, so that they can have a similar experience.
During his time so far with 644, Alex has attended a nine-day continuous course that the VGS held during the Easter period, where we had four cadet trainees that were completing their Gliding Scholarship with us. Whilst on the course, he would help out on the ground, whether at the launch point, or operating the winches.
Alex also attended a course where 644 were deployed to at RAF Little Rissington with 637 VGS, in order to assist them with their continuous course during July 2018, and four cadets were able complete their Gliding Scholarships.
Alex said: “Being a staff member on the VGS has meant that even after completing my Gold Wings, I have been able to continue my training towards becoming a G2 Graded Glider Pilot.
“This includes accumulating more solo launches, improving my flying skills and learning some additional things, such as soaring.”
After logging at least 20 solo launches and as well as 70 launches with an instructor post Gliding Scholarship, Alex was able to take a G2 Test which consisted of flying with a senior instructor to test his general handling of the aircraft, sortie management, stall prevention and stall recovery and launch failures.
As well as passing the test in the air, Alex also had to complete a ground exam which covered topics such as Airmanship, Technical, Meteorology and Principles of Flight.
After completing both aspects of the test, Alex began a G2 and was awarded my Graded Glider Pilot wings which qualifies him to fly the aircraft solo without the need to have a competency check beforehand.
Alex hopes the next step in his gliding career to fly cadets during their gliding experience when visiting the VGS.