Cpl Askhay Mandalia has returned from a specialist aerospace camp organised by London and South East Region. “On Sunday the 20th February, top cadets selected from the region gathered at Huntingdon rail station where they met each other and the staff for the first time. From there we got a coach to RAF Brampton where we met the remainder of the staff and were allowed to get a look at the rooms we would be staying in for the next 5 days. After getting settled and waiting for the arrival of the other cadets (creating a grand total of 21) who were running a bit late we received the camp briefing and found out what was in store for us. On Monday we visited the IWM airfield at Duxford. The Sqn Ldr touring us round was full of interesting facts and made the visit extremely worthwhile. Next was a visit to Marshall Aerospace, they offer world-class engineering capabilities for the design and build, equipping, conversion and modification, manufacture, maintenance, testing and integrated support of aircraft and aircraft components. They also provide strategic operational support services to many military aviation customers, including the Royal Air Force, Royal Australian Air Force, Royal Netherlands Air Force and Canada’s Department of National Defence. In the evening we received a briefing from one of the staff who was a Airline Pilot for Easyjet. He talked to us about his career and all the different steps that are currently needed to become an airline pilot.
Tuesday as usual kicked off with breakfast but this time it was at 07:00, and the visit for the day was to RAF Mildenhall, in actual fact it was a mainly USAF base. We visited the Fire section which was comprised of both USAF and MOD fire-fighters; they in actual fact have the largest fire station in the UK. After this we enjoyed a pizza lunch at the Galaxy club, even though this was their junior ranks mess it was nothing like a British forces mess, it was more like large restaurant. We were then lucky enough to get to have a look around the USAF KC135 and KC110 Tanker aircraft. The evening brief was from an RAF Careers officer from the Cambridge AFCO. Wednesday was RAF Waddington for the day. The tour started with a brief by 5(AC) Sqn who operate amongst other things the Sentinel R1, they briefed us on how the aircraft works and how it is used on operations. Lunch was at the bases ‘Costa’ café. After Lunch we visited 8 Sqn who operate the E3D Sentry, the tour was conducted by one of their Flight Sergeants who was an in-flight engineer on the aircraft. We also got a talk from one of the Sqn’s JEngO (Junior Engineering officers). He gave us a very detailed brief on his career thus far and the Engineering Officer role in general. The evening brief was from Sqn Ldr Gary Knell (VRT) who was talking to us about possible jobs in Air Traffic Control for NATS, he broke the stigmatism of all ATC’s being boring and managed to leave a few of us thinking about careers with NATS.
Thursday kicked off as usual and the destination was EADS Astrium, who are world famous satellite makers. They are most famous for the making of Mars rovers and many other important satellites, of which we did manage to see a few. The tour round the facility was really enjoyable and we were also lucky enough to see a live docking at the ISS (International Space Station). Finally we concluded our visit with a competition to design, account and make a model satellite to protect and egg from a rough entry back to earth (simulated by a cadet doing their best to break it). After having dinner in the mess as we did every night we had the rest of the evening to create our presentations on our flights pre-selected day.Friday was the day that we were all looking forward to, and dreading at the same time. After breakfast in civi’s we packed up all of our kit and cleaned up the blocks before changing into our finest suits for Lunch and presentations at the Officer’s mess or RAF Wyton. Immediately after getting there we were greeted and shown to the presentation room where we enjoyed tea and coffee alongside various dignitaries, including the Regional Commandant and the RAF’s Director of Defence Studies. After a presentation from the Director of Defence Studies on Air Power we moved onto our presentations, where each flight gave a 5-10 min presentation on their pre-selected day. Then came the moment we were all waiting for, Lunch in the Officer’s mess. Although it was not a full silver service, it was extremely enjoyable and gave a good chance to talk to the dignitary that was on our table. The last order of the day was the presentation of certificates, our individual Cadet CV’s that were made by Wg Comm Morrell and a final camp photo. The coach then proceeded to drop us off at Huntingdon Rail Station where we all made our own ways back home.
The photos show the course at Mildenhall, Duxford and Cpl Mandalia recieving his course certificate from Gp Cpt Hakin, OC London and South East Region