Well, that was a busy week. Even the bonus of sleeping in my own bed for most of it didn’t really help!
So, back to the beginning. We traditionally have a cadet camp around this time and spend a week on an air force base doing loads of lovely stuff. The RAF couldn’t accommodate us when the school expects us to go so we organised our own things.
Our plan was to have day trips locally along with an overnight at Wittering before a day of Air Experience Flying. We looked into visiting many places and the programme was quite fluid until the last moment but we succeeded in delivering a great experience for the cadets.
Day One was spent at the Swattenden Centre near Cranbrook and we had the climbing wall, low ropes / assault course, a raft building challenge and the telegraph pole of hell. It was a hot day. In fact, everyday was hot. We were quite lucky with all the dry weather.
The second day we visited St Martin’s Plain near Folkestone. We had all day inside the DCCT building along with cadets learning how to cook ration packs. Kent Police came to visit and showed us all their armed response weapons from the BMW X5.
Middle of the week and we had numerous visits planned: a few hours at IWM Duxford, a few hours at the RAF Regiment Heritage Centre and then on to RAF Wittering to overnight there.
As we were approaching the Duxford exit of the M11 two Mustangs flew overhead in formation. They then proceeded to practice their display for the weekend airshow. It was incredibly impressive and great fun to see. If nothing else exciting happened all week this would have made the week worthwhile.
After a while to soak up the rays at Duxford we drove to RAF Honington to visit the RAF Regiment Heritage Centre. This was particularly interesting and there was a lot of pretty impressive kit on display. We even managed to bump into the Station Commander and SWO. They gave us permission to have a photo taken at the gate guardian, which we duly did.
After time looking and playing with kit we drove to RAF Wittering and booked into our accommodation for the night. The showers here were very welcome as spending four hours driving a minibus with no air conditioning took its toll. We had a lovely evening meal in Stamford at the London Inn.
Our original plan was for a day’s worth of AEF with No.5 AEF but this failed for reasons that we don’t know. Fortunately, and with good contacts, we managed to see 5131 Sqn, the Harrier Heritage Centre and then spend a few hours with the Fire Section next to the runway.
The firemen a great at showing off and also managed to effectively cool us down on this baking day.
5131 had some curious stuff including this:
Finally, we reached Friday and we had sorted out some rocketry for all to enjoy. The morning was spent building the rockets and lessons on the physics and then we flew the masterpieces in the afternoon.
Overall this was a good week. Not quite as good as a proper camp, but we did well and I am pretty sure everyone had a really good time.