UTC Heathrow cadets have lift off

Nov 8, 2023

For the first time since 2015, four cadets from UTC Heathrow CCF took part in an exhilarating gliding experience at RAF Little Rissington in Gloucestershire.

On Saturday 30 September, Cadet Taylor, Sgt Bhardwaj, Flt Sgt Gregory and Cadet Warrant Officer Jhamt were given the opportunity to go gliding with 621 and 637 Volunteer Gliding Squadrons. They were to fly in the Grob G103A Twin11 Acro Viking T1, the training aircraft for gliding.

Flight Sergeant Jessica Gregory preparing to take off.

The CCF contingent started the day off early before the training crew began the training for the cadet’s flight. Safety training is taken very seriously within the Cadet Force and all cadets must show an ability to fulfil safety protocols before being allowed to go airborne. The cadets watched a detailed video giving the basics of what was going to happen, as well as a detailed procedure of what to do in the event of an emergency. They then practised getting in and out of the aircraft safely, abandoning the aircraft in an emergency and pulling on the parachute when safely away from the aircraft.

Cadet Taylor’s views from above.

And so to the skies! Three cadets at a time, each had the opportunity to be launched into the skies twice. Not only did the cadets go gliding, but they also learnt to launch the glider, calling out signals to the winch driver as well, which they found delightful.

Before each flight could take place, the cadets (with the assistance of the aircrew) would attach the glider to the winch. They would then call out ‘take up slack’ with one finger up in signal. This indicated to the winch driver to pull the slack out of the cable. The cadets would then be told to call ‘all out’ with two fingers up in signal. The winch would speed up and the glider begins its ground ride until it’s launched into the air. The cadets also helped by being a wing tip holder where they just ensure the wings are level before the launch into the air. Once the glider had reached the optimum altitude, the winch would then detach and the gliding experience would begin.

Flight Sergeant Gregory did a brilliant job calling instructions and performing signals so the winch driver could see and hear clearly, the next steps. Cadet Taylor enjoyed his day out, stating: “Gliding was brilliant, and going up was exhilarating. While in the air you could see for miles and any movement of the aircraft could be felt no matter how small it was.”

As the day went on, light rain and winds began, but this didn’t stop the cadets from gliding. Although the flights were shorter, the cadets still had a fantastic time, and enjoyed every part of it. We are thankful to 621 and 637 Volunteer Gliding Squadrons for providing us with this opportunity.

More information about our cadet unit can be found at www.heathrowccf.org

More information out the Combined Cadet Forces can be found at www.combinedcadetforces.org.uk

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