In the summer of 2014 four cadets from Jersey (three from 7 Overseas (Jersey) Squadron and one from Victoria College CCF) embarked on a two week Air Cadet Pilot Scholarship in Dundee, Scotland. During their time with Tayside Aviation they each flew 12 hours in a Grob 115 Heron, an ex-Royal Navy elementary flight training aircraft, leading to their very first solo flight. The Jersey Branch of RAFA supported the cadets to undertake in this once in a lifetime experience. Cdt Sgt James Van Neste said “The flying experience has hugely benefited us, especially with our applications and future ambitions to join Her Majesty’s Armed Forces, in various aviation related roles”.
An average day consisted of around 2 hours of flight instruction with the rest of the day studying ground theory, air law and air traffic protocol. Cdt Sgt Jean-Luc Heath said “This required hours of hard work and dedication to make sure they were able to pass the solo theory exam, in order to be passed ‘fit to fly’. Our multi-national instructors were highly competent and were enthusiastic to help us with our limited flight experience”. The second week consisted of flying circuits with very little input from the instructors, showing how far they had all come during their limited time in Scotland proving that you don’t have to have much experience to succeed in something you are passionate about.
Cdt Sgt Harry Lewis said ”Going solo was the greatest thrill everyone had ever experienced, the thrill of being up in the air with no one in the right hand seat was unlike anything else. The experience has given us valuable skills such as working under extreme pressure and multitasking. This has been such a privilege as we are part of an exclusive club of solo air cadet pilots, as out of 44,000 cadets only 190 are awarded this accolade each year. Again, this would not have been possible without the support and funding of the Jersey Branch RAFA and their volunteers”.