Aerospace Camp 2007

IFS Kristina Pisano recently attended the Aerospace Leaders Camp. A full report is below, and Kristina stated that this was "a brilliant week!". The photo shows her evacuating a British Airways Training Simulator.

LASER AEROSPACE LEADERS CAMP FEB 2007

In February LASER ran its first ever Aerospace Leaders Camp. The camp was for 24 selected senior cadets who were interested in Aerospace Careers, both civilian and military. The camp was organised by the LASER Aerospace Officer, Wg Cdr Chris Morrell, and operated from RAF Halton.

The camp programme was designed to offer a mix of visits, briefings and presentations to cover the widest possible range of aerospace activities.

After arriving on the Sunday evening the cadets were briefed and moved into their accommodation block at RAF Halton.

On Monday morning they were taken to British Airways at Heathrow. The cadets were taken around the very busy Operations Centre for Heathrow, were briefed by a Training Captain on the routes, taken to the route and briefing centre for the pilots and visited hangers where they were able to explore 747 and 777 aircraft and engines.
The visit finished in the Aircrew Training Facility where the cadets escaped from a smoke filled aircraft and used the escape slides to safety.

On Monday evening they were visited by the RAF’s Senior Recruiting Liaison Officer who gave them specific talks on various aspects of aerospace careers in the RAF and dealt one to one with questions and arranged follow up visits and work experience for the cadets.

Tuesday dawned bright and clear which was ideal for the visit to RAF Benson. Flying in the Merlin Helicopter became rather cold when the ramp was lowered so that the cadets – carefully tethered to the aircraft – could stand in the open door. That evening the presentation was from NATS, the national air traffic service, who astonished the cadets when they discovered the 65k to 80k salaries available to them as Air Traffic Controllers.

Wednesday was a special day as, after a very early start, the group was allowed to visit the secret research establishment at Boscombe Down. Here they received red-carpet treatment with introductions from the Director of QinetiQ Operations and the Commanding Officer of the Empire Test Pilots’ School. They then visited the hangers of the various test aircraft, fast jet, heavy, and rotary and met test pilots and senior engineers who explained what they did and how their careers had progressed. At lunch the Station Commander and a number of senior staff on the base joined them.

Thursday was a more relaxed day with a tour of Duxford and some free time before a visit to Marshall Aerospace at Cambridge.

On the final day the cadets left their barrack block in smart civilian clothes so that they could go to the Officers’ Mess in Halton House, one of the finest messes in the RAF.
There they gave presentations to the Regional Commandant, Gp Capt Leslie Hakin, on their week’s activities. As they were finishing these, their final speaker arrived in appropriate style.

Director Defence Studies, Gp Capt Neville Parton, had returned from a three week overseas tour in time to give the Air Power presentation to the cadets but had been ordered to RAF Cranwell to brief the Chief of the Air Staff (CAS). When advised of this booking with the cadets CAS had provided transport to Halton by helicopter.

After the presentation and questions the cadets had lunch in the superb surroundings of Halton House before receiving their certificates at the end of the course.

Following the success of this camp, LASER will be organising two more to take place in February 2008. The criteria will be the same, minimum age 16, senior or staff cadets with a significant interest in aerospace. Applications will be called for in September 2007.