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.
The Grob Tutor
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.
Some Cadets who stand out from the rest may also get the opportunity to fly on a civil airliner or go on an overseas flight in an RAF Tri-Star, VC10 or Hercules.
The Grob Vigilant
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.
The Grob Viking
The Grob Viking is a high performance glider which is launched by a winch. Seating is in tandem, with the pilot usually taking the rear seat. The rate of climb on take off is phenomenal. Once the glider has dropped the winch cable, the noise levels drop so that all you can hear is the air passing the aircraft.
As a cadet or a member of uniformed staff, you are insured to fly in every aircraft the Royal Air Force, British Army and Royal Navy have. In addition this extends to the United States Air Force aircraft and other members of the NATO Treaty countries. These chances do present themselves every so often and we have had cadets fly with the Royal Air Forces Aerobatic Team, The Red Arrows. In addition cadets have flown in Chinook's, Griffins, Hawks, Typhoon, Voyager, Hercules, Puma, E-3D Sentry, King Air and many others.
These flights often take place on camps or through special arrangement, we had cadets on board the Voyager that took part in the 2012 Diamond Jubilee flypast for HM Queen Elizabeth II, flying across London and along The Mall for the national celebrations. Cadets have been fortunate to see Air to Air Refuelling close up, experience low level flying in helicopters and the thrill of high speed flight in Fast Jets.