It was a day the next generation will always remember…a ride in a Chinook in sunny Scotland. 1,400 cadets and staff took to the skies for an RAF100 two-day training exercise at Leuchars airfield in Fife.
Cadets travelled far and wide from Scotland, Northern Ireland and the North of England for an unforgettable ride in a Chinook helicopter.
The crews from RAF Benson and RAF Odiham worked tirelessly for two days and each flight carried around 20 cadets. The staff and cadets onboard were given a ten-minute sortie around the airfield and when the flight was finished, the cadets on board would disembark and the next group were ready and waiting. Cadets and staff have described the exercise as a trip of a lifetime and the majority left the helicopter with beaming smiles. It even made some cadets think about joining the RAF and becoming a pilot in the future.
“It’s my first time on a helicopter- and it compared to nothing else- I loved it! I’ve known for a long time that I wanted to be in the RAF but I wasn’t sure if I wanted to be an engineer or a pilot. But from this trip I can say I do want to be a pilot and I do want to fly a Chinook.”
Cadet from 161 first Highland Squadron
The last flight of the day had its own VIP, Air Vice Marshal Rose Paterson, the Air Officer for Scotland. He was joined by a group of Scottish dancers and the flying aces. One thousand four hundred and thirty-one people had flown over the two day event, and it wasn’t just an unforgettable day for cadets- adult volunteers were given the opportunity to participate too.
“It’s a great opportunity for cadets to take part in and get a flight in an RAF aircraft. These opportunities don’t come along very often! The ATC has been a great organisation for me too and staff have been given the opportunity to fly today- so anyone thinking of becoming an adult volunteer- do it! Next time you could be joining us for a ride in an RAF helicopter.”
Squadron Leader Jamie Downey
West Scotland Wing
“This is a fantastic event and it’s actually the fourth flying muster that has taken place with cadets- but it’s the biggest one yet.
“It really inspires youth- aviation is at the heart of the Air Cadets and it really ticks the box of inspire during the RAF100 year. It inspires not only cadets but the adult volunteers who really keep the organisation going and I take my hat off to them.
"To fly in a Chinook is pretty special for anyone- when I was a cadet I can remember my first sortie and it’s something they’ll never forget."
Group Captain Jim Leggat
Regional Commandant of Scotland and Northern Ireland