A Squadron First!

Sgt Akshay Mandalia has just graduated from the Qualified Aerospace Instructors Course (QAIC), one of the hardest and longest courses in the ATC. He becomes the first cadet to graduate from the course from both the Squadron and the Wing. On returning from the course he had this to say: “The QAIC was, in my opinion, one of the best-kept secrets of the ATC. The variance and range of the synthetic learning equipment that we were instructed with and taught how to use really added a new dimension to the subjects that we are traditionally taught on the squadron. The expansion of my knowledge will undoubtedly allow me to trickle down what I know to both staff and cadets alike! QAIC is a great opportunity for all cadets in the ATC”

The fourth Qualified Aerospace Instructors Course (QAIC 4) graduated at RAF Linton-on-Ouse and saw another 42 students from across all six regions of the Air Cadets gain their certificates and patches. This year saw a new milestone in the QAIC process with two courses running side by side at both RAF Linton-on-Ouse in North Yorkshire and MOD Boscombe Down in Wilshire. QAIC began in September 2011 with a selection weekend and then a series of training weekends held at the Regional Activity Centres. In between weekend courses the students also had to complete a series of tasks in their own time and accessing the QAIC SharePoint server, so were able to work together as team members no matter where they were located in the country.

The course is very academically demanding and requires a huge level of commitment as well as organisation skills to juggle course work with school and college studies. Cadet ranks are set aside during the programme and each student is given a call-sign or nickname which is used the training and events. Standard uniform for the course is a flight suit with course patches and as worn during actual flight exercises supported by the volunteer gliding squadrons. The final part of the course was a weeklong graduation camp at RAF Linton-on-Ouse culminating in a series if daunting syndicate presentations in front of some very high profile guests. During the graduation week, visits were made to RAF Waddington, Also the cadets visited BAe Systems and Warton. In addition the cadets were expected to complete a series of command tasks, leadership training, study air traffic control, become familiar with light simulators and other forms of synthetic training, complete an essay on air power as well as research and complete a challenging 40 minute presentation on a range of air related topics and then be prepared to answer a series of probing questions from a high ranking audience.

The syndicate presentations took place is Cheshire Hall lecture theatre with each group having researched, prepared and practiced for the day. Within the audience was, Commandant Air Cadets, Air Commodore Barbara Cooper and this year’s principle guest, Air Vice Marshal Mike Lloyd, AOC 22 Group and Chief of Staff Training. Each syndicate had to research their given subject and then develop and deliver a full presentation to the audience which is a very daunting prospect when the audience is so knowledgeable. Having completed the presentations, the course certificates were handed out by Air Vice Marshal Lloyd. All the graduating cadets received the QAIC 4 Certificate and patch. They will now be entitled to wear the QAI Blue Lanyard, a rare and unique award only given to successful graduates. The conclusion of the course was the formal Graduation Dinner held in the Officers Mess at RAF Linton on Ouse. Once again the mess staff pulled out all the stops and the ensemble of 1224 (Wharfedale) Squadron Band played beautifully to make this a truly memorable event for the graduating cadets and staff. Having enjoyed the process of a formal dining in event the final awards were made”.