The chance to go flying is one of the best things about being an Air Cadet and makes the ATC very different from other youth organisations. Make no mistake – this is not like flying on an airliner – the controls are right there in front of you, the pilot is next to you and when you land, your backside is about only 3 feet from the ground.
Air Cadets get regular opportunities to fly in light aircraft and gliders as well as other RAF and civil aircraft. The most common form of powered flying is called “Air Experience Flying” and is carried out in the Grob Tutor flying with 7 AEF at RAF Cranwell. You’ll be kitted out with a flying suit, helmet, gloves and parachute and when you fly you will get chance to take control of the aircraft. If its not your first flight, you may well get the chance to do aerobatics – absolutely fantastic!
Later on in their careers, cadets can apply for Flying Scholarships which give them free flying instruction at a civilian flying club. All the hours flown count towards a Private Pilots Licence.
The Grob Vigilant is the Air Cadet’s powered glider. Whilst this might sound strange, the aircraft launches under its own power and then cuts that power to become a glider.
Any cadet over 16 can apply for a Gliding Scholarship. They will receive 10 hours gliding instruction and are then assessed for their ability. The best will fly a circuit of the airfield SOLO. The very best may be asked to come back for further instruction so that they can go on and become instructors themselves.