In the summer of 2014 cadets from Jersey were given the chance to apply, for the first time, a position as Lieutenant Governors Cadet. The position would require cadets to help His Excellency the Lieutenant Governor of Jersey with Royal Visits, special military parades and other important events. This would be awarded to the six of the Islands best cadets, applications were invited from the Sea Cadet Corps, Army Cadet Force, Combined Cadet Force and of course the Air Training Corps.
Three cadets from 7 Overseas (Jersey) Squadron made it through to the interview stage. After an anxious few weeks, news came through that all three of the cadets had been successful in their interview and were now officially Lieutenant Governors Cadet’s alongside three other cadets from the CCF.
A special reception was held at Government House and Sgt Nanneke Boxall, Sgt Jean-Luc Heath and Sgt James Van Neste were presented their awards by His Excellency General Sir John McColl KCB CBE DSO surrounded by their families. Sgt. Van Neste said “it will be a fantastic opportunity to represent my squadron as one of these few Lieutenant Governors Cadet’s”. Sgt. Heath said “it will be a huge honour to help the Lieutenant Governors Cadet in this prestigious position.”
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”.