This month, 7 – 14 th August, 37 cadets and 7 staff from the wing enjoyed Annual Camp at RAF Cranwell. The week had a comprehensive programme laid on by the station ACLO Flt Lt Huw Millar.
After arriving on Saturday afternoon, the week soon sprung into action with a visit to the fire section. After a safety brief and fitting of helmets, cadets competed in their flights in a race to run out hoses, connect them to the fire engine and knock over an obstacle. Needless to say, there were some very wet cadets!
Once in to uniform, room inspections complete, Monday began with the Station Commanders brief. This gave the cadets an insight into the workings of an RAF station and how all trades are working together to get aircraft flying.
The week was action packed and full of opportunities including work experience. Several cadets visited the RAF Police dogs where they received a tour, learnt about how to join and what life is like for an RAF Police dog handler. Two cadets visited the Medical Centre where they sat in on a pilot’s annual medical, asked questions and handled some of the equipment carried in the ambulance. CWO Ellis didn’t know what he was letting himself in for when putting his name forward for PEdO work experience. He took part in a 5 mile run with officer cadets doing fitness training. Along with all this two cadets also visited 55(R) Sqn to discover life as a Weapon Systems Officer (Navigator), where they toured the Sqn and were shown how new student Wizzo’s are trained.
The cadets were fortunate enough to tour CHOM (College Hall Officer’s Mess). CHOM is the grass roots of an RAF officer, full of tradition and history. It is where all new students live and are trained to become RAF Officers. The tour included the Officers mess, the library and corridors filled with stunning art work.
On Wednesday the cadets were given a tour by the crew of a visiting Hercules C-130J. There was the opportunity to ask questions about what life is like for the crew, what kind of roles they fulfil, along with a visit to the flight deck.
A lot was gained by the cadets during the week, building on teamwork and trust skills. They took part in an Orienteering exercise led by the RAF Regiment and a low ropes course with Officer Cadets. The trust exercise was popular amongst the cadets and staff. They had to fall backwards from a platform relying on trusting their team mates to catch them. Some immediately volunteered; others with a little persuasion from their friends also took part, bringing the flights closer together.
Many cadets gained or renewed their weapons handling test during the week and enjoyed .22 and L-98 A2 firing practices on the range on Thursday.
During the week the cadets made a number of section visits, including Survival Equipment and the BBMF (Battle of Britain Memorial Flight) at RAF Coningsby. At Survival Equipment cadets got hands on with the life saving kit aircrew rely on if they crash land.
For flying opportunities RAF Cranwell is the place to be. 30 cadets had the opportunity to take to the skies. 20 flew in the RAF King Air B200 aircraft used to train the RAF’s future multi-engine pilots. 6 flew in the Dominie used to train Weapon Systems Officers and 4 had Air Experience Flights in the Tutor. The flights were as varied as the aircraft themselves. The AEF cadets really enjoyed their flights many opting for stomach turning aerobatics. In the King Air, cadets enjoyed steep turns, stall turns and touch and go’s on flights travelling across Humberside and some as far as Liverpool. For Instructor Cadets, CWO Ellis, FS Wood and Sgt Mann their Dominie flight was the highlight of the week. It began with a brief by the crew at 55(R) Sqn.
“We were handed flight maps and told we would be navigating a mock bombing run. We were taught how to read the maps and given an OS map showing the 10 mile run up to the target. Briefed and equipped with flying suits, boots and kit we walked out to the aircraft. The flight was fantastic. There were three targets, one for each of us. We were shown how to use the radar in the back and identify objects. It was fascinating using maps and radar to navigate. We flew across Humberside, and Yorkshire culminating by flying across Donna Nook Bombing Range. It gave us a real insight in to the training student Wizzo’s receive and was an experience we will never forget.”
The week spent at RAF Cranwell was a brilliant camp. The cadets enjoyed themselves and gained a lot from the week. Thank you to all the staff for running the camp and taking part. A special thank you to the station staff for their enthusiasm and effort to make RAF Cranwell a fantastic experience.
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Warwickshire and Birmingham Wing Annual Camp RAF Cranwell 07~14 August 2010