Like all other youth groups, the Royal Air Force Air Cadets have been forced to adapt to a new way of working, during what is usually our busiest time of the year.
However, this has allowed cadets from all over the country to meet up virtually and take part in a wealth of incredible talks and courses.
Early in the lockdown period, 633 (West Swindon) Squadron arranged for a career presentation from a current Royal Navy Pilot, Lieutenant Oliver Mendham. This kind of talk is incredibly interesting for cadets and gives them a chance to hear a little bit about life within other branches of the Armed Forces.
At the beginning of June, the South West Region was treated to a presentation from ex-Red Arrows, turned airline pilot, Sqn Ldr Couston. Over 100 cadets tuned in to hear about his life as a fast jet pilot with one of the world’s best aerobatic teams. We were given the opportunity to ask our burning questions, to learn about some of his scariest moments in the cockpit, including a treacherous bird strike which smashed the glass of his canopy.
An ex-Air Cadet, Royal Marines Cpl Amy Phillips, kindly offered to join a Virtual Parade Night to share stories about her life as a Royal Marines Musician. Starting her musical life in the Royal Air Force Air Cadets Band, this was a wonderful opportunity for the cadets to see where their interests can take them. The event was so fascinating, that Cpl Phillips returned (virtually) a few weeks later, to talk to the whole of the South West Region.
The opportunities did not stop there. Central and East Yorkshire Wing’s music section rolled out nationwide music training that would usually only be available to cadets in their area. Furthermore, in the next couple of months, we can look forward to sessions with Formula 1 engineers, virtual fieldcraft lessons, and a former Chief of the Air Staff.
These amazing events would not be possible without our visitors giving up their time to talk to us, balancing this on top of their own work commitments. Our own staff have also offered much of their time to support and organise these extraordinary presentations, that would have been impossible otherwise.
Cadet Sergeant Anna Talbert, 17
To find out what other activities cadets get up to, search ‘878 Highworth Squadron RAF Air Cadets’ on Facebook or visit ‘@878Highworth’ on Twitter and ‘@878highworthsqn’ on Instagram.