The Sea Cadet Aviation Advanced Flying Course
The Sea Cadet aviation calendar came to a finale at the end of July with the final course of the year Advanced Flying Training and the chance to gain the SCC's coveted gold wings. For the first time Lee on Solent was the venue this year with facilities and support provided by Portsmouth Naval Gliding Club. The week involved a good deal of revision particularly on the core subjects for the week, principles of flight, meteorology, engineering, radio telephony and navigation. Using the Grob 109 motor glider the cadets were introduced to the aircraft and during the week gained confidence in using the aircrafts radio to talk to the air ground service at Lee on Solent and the air traffic controllers at Southampton whilst navigating.
The team were also treated to a rather unusual visit early in the week as three Spitfires which were being used in the forthcoming film 'Dunkirk' arrived at the airfield together with members of the aerial special effects team. The film crews and pilots found the original WW2 hangers and location ideal for the aircraft and decided to set up their operating base there. This also allowed Sea cadet Aviation's CO, Lt(SCC) Marc Pether RNR, to fulfill a lifelong dream as he was allowed to climb into the cockpit of one of the earlier MK1's and sample just what it must of been like flying into combat for one of our wartime pilots. He is still wearing a grin!
Altogether Pilots Lt (SCC) John Reeve RNR and Senior Pilot CPO (SCC) Carl Mason flew approximately 16 hours during the week and in good weather for the most part though some low cloud over the Isle of Wight on one or two days prevented several cadets navigating their more advanced routes. A written exam covering all three aviation courses was taken on the last day together with verbal assessments of the motor glider both on the ground and in the air. Finally, the successful cadets received their wings at a parade held appropriately in front of the main hanger by Lt (SCC) Pether RNR. Top student this year was Corporal Smith from Worthing and there was a surprise for both LC Jablonski and AC Maloney who were both invited back to act as cadet instructors on the bronze wing groundschool course to be held at SCTC Weymouth early next year. All three were presented with flight holdalls kindly donated by Pooley's Flight Equipment.
As the course ended Lt Pether said "2016 has been the best year so far for the Sea Cadet Aviation programme. A highlight was having a member of the team join the Royal Navy as an aircrew officer and this shows the superb opportunities we offer and allows our cadets to broaden their horizons and open up doors for exciting careers. I am very much looking forward to the 2017 aviation programme and continuing to show that the Sea cadet experience is at the top of its game".