A report by Cdt Babla
During January 12th – 16th, three of the cadets from 241 Squadron (CDT Babla, SGT Davidson, CWO Dent) went on an Advanced Gliding Training Course at RAF Syerston in order to receive their Gold Wings, going solo 5 times, and learning advanced flying techniques.
The week started off quite good… the food and accomodation at RAF Cranwell was amazing, and we met 4 other cadets from other Squadrons, with funny Liverpudlian accents!
But the weather let us down… on most days, too. On Monday, all of flying and gliding was suspended due to the rain and poor visibility. However, Tuesday cleared up, and we all got out to fly! It was tricky going back and being slightly rusty at flying, not remembering some of the checks and I even landed quite badly, but this soon brought back memories, and my mind cleared up for the rest of the week.
The weather was poor on most mornings, and we found ourselves sitting in the Flight Room going over ground lessons or watching Pearl Harbour and Titanic over and over! But when it cleared up for the afternoon, we were all taken outside to fly!
However, the week didn’t seem to be getting better. By Thursday evening, only one of us had gone solo. Once. Which meant another 4 solos for her, and another 5 solos left for me and SGT Davidson. Which had to be done in one day. So we all assumed we’d be leaving without getting our wings, especially when we found the weather hadn’t got any better on Friday morning.
On Friday afternoon, my instructor told me that the weather was too bad, so I couldn’t go solo. I was annoyed that I had spent a week without flying that much, and I didn’t even have the chance to go solo… but the weather felt sorry for us… and decided to clear up… in the last hour of Friday afternoon. I was told I could get 1 Solo in, and maybe complete the 4 other solo’s next time I came, but I knew that I could do more…
Both me and SGT Davidson raced to get as many solos as we could, and in the 1 hour we had, we both got 4 solos done, and we were told to wrap up. CWO Dent had done her 5 solos, so I thought she would be the only one who would get her Gold, but we were all given our Gold wings for effort and for completing 4 solos in such poor weather! I was really happy about getting my gold wings, and I’m sure CWO Dent and SGT Davidson are happy about it, too!
Thanks to the intructors at RAF Syerston for being great and letting us go solo, and teaching us the skills we needed in such little time, and thanks to RAF Cranwell staff who gave us accomodation and nice food! Next step: fast jets!
Cdt Kiran Babla (as shown in the photo in the cockpit of a Vigilant!)