Cadet ZoÃ« Barber of 162 (Stockport) Squadron has experienced an air experience flight with a difference. Making her first steps in the world of flying Zoe was lucky enough to win a specially arranged flight in a Hawk Fast Jet.
Following a week-long camp at RAF Valley Zoe was chosen among 34 other cadets on the course to take part in the once in a lifetime flight.
The Hawk aircraft is an advanced jet trainer and is capable of a maximum speed of 646 mph. At times during the flight ZoÃ« was told that she may experience a force of around 4.5g.
ZoÃ«'s pilot for the experience was Flight Lieutenant Steve Eccles - a Qualified Flying instructor and former Hawk display pilot. As the excitement began to build on the morning of the flight she met Flt Lt Eccles for a briefing at 208 Squadron’s HQ.
Later that morning they both walked out to the aircraft. ZoÃ« had the opportunity to pose for some photographs so that she would never forget the experience..
After initial safety checks were complete ZoÃ« was taken high into the clouds during a flight that she would never forget. The Hawk aircraft zoomed up above the Irish sea before dipping into some aerobatics. Zoe enthused: “The High level aerobatics were amazing. We began to twist and turn above the Irish sea before flying through the Valley’s of Snowdonia.”
Despite the excitement at the start, it was the second part of the flight that will live long in the memory for ZoÃ«. As Flt Lt Eccles took the high-powered machine through even more breath-taking twists and turns just above the Valleys below he fired out and back over the sea at close to 400 mph.
ZoÃ« commented: "The second section was so fast - with the tops of the mountains above us. The whole flight is something I'll remember for the rest of my life and I'm grateful to have been given this opportunity."
Officer Commanding 162 (Stockport) Squadron Flight Lieutenant Lee Moore said: "This was a fantastic opportunity for ZoÃ« and I know how much she enjoyed the flight even if she did feel a little sick afterwards! The rest of her flying in the ATC won't be quite as energetic as this, so I hope she adjusts to flying in the slower Grob Tutors."
Camp Commandant, Flight Lieutenant Shaun White said. "This was a great opportunity for ZoÃ« and I'd like to thank the personnel at RAF Valley for the flight. I know there were 33 other cadets on camp hoping ZoÃ« caught a cold the night before the flight so they could have the chance to fly!"