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Royal Russell School's High Flyer!

Published on isbi School News dated Tuesday 13th of March 2012

My first ever flying experience, at RAF Base Benson, was one of the most exiting and enjoyable experiences I think I will ever have in the CCF.

Despite a rather early morning departure from Royal Russell School, I was very eager to get to Benson so that I could experience something that I thought I would never get to do. Flying an aircraft!

After a two hour journey, in a slightly cramped minibus, we finally arrived at RAF Benson, Oxfordshire. When we arrived we were greeted by men with rifles at the gate, which was quite a daunting site, before (finally) being allowed access into the base. After being greeted and led to our 'chill out' room, we were told that some of the morning flights had been suspended a while due to strong winds on the airfield (great)! Never the less we were then put through the safety procedures which involved a practical simulator experience. This was used, so that we knew what to do in the rare case of an emergency. Once we had completed our safety training, we were then led to the store rooms where we were 'suited up' for the thirty minute flying experience ahead of us. This was where the nerves began to kick in! Our equipment consisted of: a full body flight suit, white flight gloves, a radio helmet (with visors) and in case of an emergency a sick bag! After this we went to the waiting room. Although we were relieved to hear at this point that the weather conditions had settled sufficiently for flying, we all waited nervously for our flight to be called! I specifically remember looking out the window and seeing my friends begin to take off, every 30 thirty minutes and on a few occasions them returning quickly because they were sick!
Then it was my turn. I was led out (onto a still windy day) to the aircraft that I would be flying. A Grob Tutor 115. After being helped into the aircraft and strapped in carefully, we were ready to take off. Just me and my pilot. My pilot was such good company and he talked a lot to me which helped calm my nerves. In fact we talked so much before take off, I learnt that he's a West Ham United football supporter and that he was a pilot for EasyJet, based at Luton airport.

From the moment we left the runway I was in awe of the view. The Oxfordshire countryside was spectacular and when we were at our cruising height (3000ft) my pilot pointed out some landmarks including the River Thames. Then, after a few demonstrations, the moment I had been waiting for, the words from the pilot: 'You have control'. I was flying an aircraft!

Whilst in control, I learnt how to bank left and right, turn and rise and fall. He then showed me some stunts including barrel roles, flips and feeling zero gravity. It was all incredibly fun. I couldn't stop smiling. Then the pilot let me have a go at some flips. I was amazed at my luck.

After a great flight we then landed back at Benson. I stumbled out of the aircraft in complete disbelieve of my experience.

As a whole, my flying experience was an opportunity many people would rarely get in their lives and I realise just how lucky I was. I would like to thank Flying officer Netherway for organising the event and I can't wait for the next opportunity to go flying!


RAF Cadet at Royal Russell School CCF
Royal Russell School's High Flyer! - Photo 1Royal Russell School's High Flyer! - Photo 2Royal Russell School's High Flyer! - Photo 3
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