Per Abingdon ad astra!

On Sunday 18th November, seven members of the RAF Section of Reading School Combined Cadet Force (CCF) had their first taste of gliding when they visited 612 Volunteer Gliding School at Abingdon.

They were there to undertake Gliding Induction Courses, an introduction to handling the Vigilant T1 motor glider, the aircraft used by the RAF to help train the instructors and pilots of the future.  Having listened to the flight safety brief and learned how to use the parachute, the cadets were able, under the guidance of their instructors , to take control of the aircraft when airborne.

By the end  of the day, they were familiar with the Vigilant’s control systems and had learned the basics of keeping the aircraft in level flight as well as gaining and losing height and making turns.  Visibility was excellent  and everyone was able to enjoy some wonderful views of the Oxfordshire countryside from 2,000 feet as well as seeing a 360 degree rainbow!

Gliding is a very important part of the Air Experience training component for the RAF section.  Every year, Reading School CCF succeeds in sending a number of RAF cadets on Gliding Scholarship courses run by the Air Cadet Organisation where they learn to fly the Vigilant solo and gain their gliding wings. Last year, Paul Hofer, Martin Chak , Alex Arkinstall and Patrik Toobe  all successfully completed Gliding Scholarships.  It is certain that some of this year's newcomers will one day achieve the same. There is also no doubt about the adjective  which all seven felt best described their day- “awesome!”

Capt. P. F. E. Hurst, Reading School CCF