Interesting reading this in one of my members of staff’s Fleet Air Arm magazine
Sea Cadet Aviation ‘EFT’ course at Lee on Solent
Published: 13 Jun 2016
Ten students attended the Sea Cadet Aviation ‘EFT’ course at Lee on Solent (ex HMS Daedalus ) in May staying on the airfield courtesy of Portsmouth Naval Gliding Club.
Commanding Officer Sea Cadet Aviation Lt (SCC) Marc Pether RNR and the operations team PO (SCC) Sophie Levy and Sgt Daniel Welch, who both gained their Cadet Wings, had their work cut out fitting this years programme of advanced navigation, meteorology, radiotelephony and flight simulator training around the cadets school exams with some cadets having to leave the course to return to school to sit examinations returning later in the week.
Senior Pilot CPO (SCC) Carl Mason had a busy time flight planning and weather watching yet still managed to fly each cadet at least twice for around 30 minutes during the week. Strong cross winds made the first days flying interesting as the limit for the Grob 109B motor glider is just ten knots though conditions did improve gradually as the week went on particularly early morning. Only one day lost because of poor visibility, low cloud and rain.
Flying began as early as 0645 some days to make the most of the calmer weather with flights taking place over the Isle of White, Portsmouth harbour and surrounding areas. The students worked hard to complete their theory tests and briefings but all had an enjoyable week. They were presented with their new ‘Silver Wings’ wings before leaving by the CO. Hopefully the last course will take place in Lee at the end of July with six cadets invited back to attend for more air experience flights and the opportunity to complete the programme.
Obviously the RAF/HQAC can’t see beyond their own noses and are so blinkered. You have to wonder why we can’t access this? There can’t be any problems with qualifications etc of the staff.
They must be astounded everytime they go into a different supermarket and see the same things in each one. I bet some of them thought they’d never be able to buy Marmite again as Tesco didn’t have it, after what was on yesterday’s news.
I do think it is a bit of a joke that they are flying in Vigilant motor gliders and yet we are not…
Probably because they are Civilian registered.
Another reason I am leaving for another cadet force, with some sadness I might add.
I seem to recall that the Royal Navy offered air experience flying and scholarships to both cadets and Joe Public through 727 NAS. Admittedly on a smaller scale than the AEFs but it’s been happening for years. Any idea if it’s still running in any shape or form?
One of my cadets did this programme (that’s right I’m SCC )
The SCC Aviation programme consists of three phases (Bronze, Silver, Gold). Bronze is a one week ‘ground school’ course covering the basics: principles of flight, navigation etc along with some simulator work.
Silver is another week long course, which approximately the best 50% from the bronze course get invited to attend which includes a couple of flights (this is what is being talked about in the original post).
Again, this is whittled to around half the number of cadets who are invited to the ‘gold’ course. During this course they do far more flying (my cadet flew both Tutors and Vigilants for several flights a day) and are instructed by serving RN pilots (I think from 727NAS as mentioned above but I’m not certain).
Whilst certainly not on the scale of the flying that the ACO offers, it is great that we can offer it as an opportunity to those that are interested. My cadet is now hoping to join the RN as an F35 pilot eventually, partly as a result of this experience.
Or rather is supposed to offer which is part of the gripe here; we don’t actually see anywhere near the level of flying slots which we are supposed to. I doubt that any in the ACO begrudge the SCC their flying, it just sticks in the throat when your chaps get glider flights when that is supposed to be one of our ‘USPs’ when recruiting, yet has been denied to 99.9% for 2 1/2 years now.
I say, good on the SCC with offering a flying programme.
Sea Cadet flying scholarships as well as University Royal Navy Unit (URNU) Special Flying Award courses are run at 727 NAS. It’s a brilliant initiative which is well organised and run by the SCC, and caters for those who have the desire to join the Fleet Air Arm in later years. However:
The vast vast vast majority of Naval aviators are ex- air cadets, myself included. On my last course around 80% were air cadets or air cadet instructors before joining the mob, and that seems to be a common theme with other courses. While the Sea Cadets do run an effective set of flying courses, it only caters to few. The Air Cadets, gliders or not, will continue to be the primary means of young people enhancing their interest and skill in aviation. AEFs will continue to run, that is the biggest draw to the Air Cadets for young people.
As an aside, and in case there was some confusion, 727 NAS don’t exist just to provide scholarships to cadets and students. RN pilot grading is delivered by the Squadron, and they will also soon be running Elementary Flying Training as well.