"We do everything many of the other youth groups out there do PLUS we go Flying & Gliding."
Let's face it, this is what everyone thinks being an Air Cadet is all about, after all we are attached to the RAF and have air in our name. What most people don't realise is that you don't have to fly to be an Air Cadet.
Our main source of flying is with Air Experience Flights, where you get into a Grob Tutor light aircraft and take a short flight from St Athan's over the Bristol Channel. You even get to take over the controls as part of your learning experience. You even get a chance to experience some acrobatics as the Tutor is designed to allow this. All this will be under the tuition of an experienced flying instructor.
You can even train towards a full pilot's license and gain a BTEC in Aviation.
Q. What is a winged aircraft without any means of power to keep it up?
A. A glider.
One of the changes introduced when the ADCC became the ATC was the concept that every cadet should fly, but as there were so few powered aircraft available they instead introduced the cadets to gliding.
The first gliding school in Wales was based near the Inland Revenue offices in Llanishen, Cardiff. The cadets had to level the field, modify a cowshed to create a hangar and then assemble their own Slingsby Cadet glider. There are now 27 volunteer gliding squadrons in the UK.
There are two types of glider that Air Cadets use, the Viking tow glider, which is either towed into the air by a powered aircraft or winch launched from the ground.
The second type is the Vigilant. This glider does have an engine to get it up in the air, but once it's there that's shut off and it *relies on its long wingspan to ride the currents.
Either way, gliding is a wonderful and peaceful way to experience the thrill of flying
Occasionally Cadets get to experience other forms of flying with rides in several military aircraft including Chinooks & Hercules. Usually events like this take place on annual greens camps or on special visits to airbases around the country. A few lucky cadets have flown in a Typhoon, Tri-star, VC10 or Red Arrows Hawk as part of special ATC commendations.