Regular Visitor

This year I have been travelling to the Cambridgeshire Lincolnshire borders to stay at the sleepy extension to Wittering village. This compound used to fly Harriers until that type was grounded due to budget cuts. For now, RAF Wittering is home to 5AEF flying Grob Tutors and the A4 Force, the base is home to a massive logistical section of the UK armed forces.

Most RAF bases have a gate guardian. A retired aircraft looking out over the entrance to the base, guarding the way. At RAF Wittering the gate guardian is, fittingly, a Harrier. This year I have spent more time at RAF Wittering than I have visiting family. I’ve been there for overnight trips to take cadets flying with 5AEF and I’ve been there over weekends to help out CE SATT develop their SAAI course.

She Who Must Not Be Named
She Who Must Not Be Named

I am very happy to say that I am now a qualified SAAI which means I will now be used extensively to train and test cadets and adult volunteers on weapon systems. This journey has been quite a long one, starting five years ago and gradually building up experience and waiting for the correct timings to fit into life. The hard work hasn’t stopped yet. I now have to plan and create more lessons along with learning another weapon system so that the progressive training will continue next year.


Over the weekend I tried something out not because I wanted to but really just because I should have been able to do it. While I was at RAF Wittering I spent some time on the Playstation remote play feature just really checking that it would work. As I’d been feeling remote recently through stress and poor sleep I didn’t spend a great deal of time playing [in fact I practised some statistics] but I did confirm that I can play the Playstation when I have a wifi signal.

While on military bases I either use the wifi provided by BT on some bases or, on others, there is a private contractor service called Media Force. In my experience they provide excellent coverage [except in my room at Shawbury] and for £10 you can get a week’s worth of 24Mb/s connection.

The Media Force connection at Wittering was enough to get my PS4 working remotely via my laptop:

Remote Play
Remote Play

I only played a very arcade type game as I didn’t really have the time to get into a specific game. But, I proved the system worked. For the PC version you connect a Dualshock4 via a USB cable. This system worked well.

I then tested the system on my phone. It’s an Apple iPhone running iOS13+. I apologise for the crappy picture because I was using my laptop to take the photograph and both of its cameras point rearwards [towards the user].

Remote Play iOS 13 and Dualshock 4
Remote Play iOS 13 and Dualshock 4

In this setup the Dualshock4 is connected via BlueTooth which is pretty cool. You just have to re-pair the controller with your PS4 when you get home. I’ll definitely be using this system more in the future!

Harriers Ascending (no more)

I really enjoy the things I do, if I didn’t it would be sad for me I guess, although many many people struggle to find enjoyment in their lives. I’m at RAF Wittering for a couple of days of training and as much as the commute from Kent to (almost) Lincolnshire on a Friday afternoon is hell it is great to be here. Everyone I meet or speak to feels privileged to be able to visit the places we do and have unique experiences.

While driving to the 504 Sqn building I passed two Harrier aircraft out on the pan enjoying the morning sun. It would have been a silly thing to keep driving past them so I stopped, got out the phone camera and tried to capture them in their morning glory.

Harrier GR3
Harrier GR3

This beast is, as far as I can tell, and I’m happy to be corrected a Harrier GR3. Although it looks a little old I do like the matt effect paint. There was a time when these screeching jets were all the rage around RAF Wittering but now the air force has a new VSTOL plane based at Marham. Next to the GR3 was the trainer:

Harrier T2 or 4
Harrier T2 or 4

I think there are only a few viewing angles where this one looks gorgeous. The extra bubble canopy really doesn’t help. I’ve never been a big fan of Harriers, they were always very noisy and didn’t seem that impressive to me but I might be slowly changing my mind. I saw two Spanish AV8 fly at RIAT this year and there’s definitely something special about them, especially on the slow pass and hover.

After getting back in the car I head to the little car park by 504 and what do I see but two fire appliances/trucks/engines or whatever you want to call them. I’ve got a mate who is a firefighter and so I tend to send him pictures of any trucks I see. It was while taking these I realised these trucks were from Ascension Island and the little air force base there. Amazing, the things you see.

Fire Appliances from Ascension Island
Fire Appliances from Ascension Island

Apologies for my shadow getting in the way. There was an issue with the sun and directions for the best photo.

Skills Are Lacking

I’ve just spent a weekend at RAF Wittering where I was practising my skills at instruction. I can assure you, worryingly to my profession, that my skills are not that good and I need loads of practice. The next weekend is within the month and so I need to read a lot, learn and instruct. I’m secretly looking forward to this as a challenge is always a good thing. Even if I’m not that good there’s still the challenge of getting better.

She Who Must Not Be Named
She Who Must Not Be Named

Here’s to the next few weeks of learning!


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.

Climbing Wall
Climbing Wall

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.

Duxford Flight Line
Duxford Flight Line

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.

Buccaneer - RAF Honington
Buccaneer – RAF Honington

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.

Squirty Stuff
Squirty Stuff and me

5131 had some curious stuff including this:

Bucket Of Sunshine
Bucket Of Sunshine

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.

Launching Rockets
Launching Rockets

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.


I recently spent a lovely week at RAF Wittering [EGXT] with the MGS CCF RAF Section. We were there with cadets and staff from Malvern College who all turned out to be great people. In fact, their Officer Commanding had been on my OIC course.

Harrier Fun
Harrier Fun

Here’s a list of activities we got up to followed by a small photograph gallery which could have been bigger but sometimes there are restrictions on what we can photograph.

  • High ropes course and power fan
  • Archery
  • Air Experience Flying with No 5 AEF
  • WHST
  • Shooting with the L98A2
  • Drill and drill competition
  • Command Tasks
  • Visit to Marshalls Aerospace Company
  • Visit to the American Cemetery near Cambridge
  • 5131 BD Sqn visit
  • Fire Section visit [I might have been sprayed by a branch]
  • Harrier Heritage Centre visit
  • I did two runs
  • Ten pin bowling
  • Meal out in Stamford
  • Outreach team
  • Party minibus

This was a very enjoyable camp. Great fun. Some of the pictures below aren’t really level with the horizon, but I am not going to edit them. It’d take time I don’t really have.

My last photo is of a lovely elliptical bridge I saw in Leicester. Very pretty:

Elliptical Beauty
Elliptical Beauty