Our Flying Experience
On the last day of November, we were given the opportunity to fly a plane by our CCF unit, who encourage their RAF cadets to experience airmanship first hand. The experience was a once in a lifetime opportunity - from controlling the plane ourselves to experiencing aerobatics. We also met cadets from other cities and talked to pilots about their experiences. Being at an airbase was an educational experience as we learnt about different planes throughout history.
We were first briefed on safety and fitted with a boiler suit and gloves along with a helmet and sunglasses. As expected with flying, we were also fitted with parachutes and briefed on safety checks, drills and commands, including the emergency procedure ‘Jump, Jump!’. However, we made it through the flight without having to jump out and evacuate.
We were able to fly a Grob Tutor, a common aircraft used by trainee pilots and elementary flight training, alongside an experienced pilot. Once we were in the air, the pilot relinquished control and allowed us to explore the motions of turning the plane, descending and ascending. It was surreal to be so high and see the countryside and houses from the air.
It was fascinating to be able to speak to the pilots about their everyday experiences with flying. Most pilots get the opportunity to fly planes like the Grob Tutor every single day. One of the pilots had been flying professionally since he was just 17, and told us an entertaining anecdote about being able to fly his family to Paris for lunch and back. We were flown over Reading and able to see the busy town centre from the sky.
Another highlight was the aerobatics we were able to experience. The pilots took us on a wingover, in which the plane ascends at a near vertical climb and then a gentle 180 degrees flat turn. As the roof of the plane was clear, we were able to watch as we rose steeply in the air before the plane turned, and we were suddenly looking at the ground upside down. Experiencing the G-force first hand gave us a greater appreciation of the principles we were taught in Physics and our RAF lessons and seeing the top of the plane flooded with green countryside as we hung suspended upside down in the air was the most incredible experience we have ever had. And to all those who are wondering - yes, it really was a bit like Top Gun!
By Dora, Sudiksha, Coco and Rameesha