CCF visit to RAF Kenley
4th May 2022
Cadets from our RAF section travelled at the crack of dawn to visit RAF Kenley in surrey to try gliding for the first time.
RAF Kenley has a rich history – in World War 2 it was one of the main fighter stations that was responsible for the air defence of London.
When we arrived we were shown where facilities like the briefing room were and then given important safety demonstrations and videos to try to alleviate the nerves. We were all taught how to wear a parachute, and escape the aircraft in an emergency.
Everyone got the opportunity to practise setting the gliders up ready for take-off and were taught all of the key jargon.
Once they were driven to the other side of the runway, they all one by one got the chance to step into the glider and take to the sky, not only once but twice! One trained cadet lifted a wing to make the glider level, then another cadet connected the cable to the aircraft. Once they had checked to make sure the airfield is safe another cadet gave the signal to the commanding officer in the control-tower style caravan to authorise that glider to take off. The ascent looked steep from the ground but felt smooth and exciting to me in the aircraft. Once the Viking glider was level, we were taught about all of the controls of the aircraft and were even given the chance to take control of the Viking, as pilot.
One cadet (14 years old) loved her gliding experience, saying, “my experience gliding was amazing, it was fun, and the views were incredible. I had a great time and would love to come back and glide again. Even though taking off was scary, I felt safe the entire time.”
Another cadet (17 years old) said, “We explored how to control the glider in terms of pitch and roll – which alone was astonishing and rather different to what I am used to. Overall, this was a unique and incredible experience, giving us a range of new knowledge and the experience of flying a glider."
Further gliding, along with shooting, camping and flying powered aircraft is all planned to take place very soon.
Flt. Lt Lowis, the Contingent Commander commented, "I'm so pleased to see how our cadets are learning new skills, challenging themselves with unfamiliar activities and getting to build skills that can help a person for a lifetime. I am very proud of all of them.