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Cadets Reach For The Skies With PTT

Published: 29 Jul 2015

Air Cadets at Little Rissington will soon be taking to the virtual skies as they've just taken delivery of a brand-new Part-Task Trainer (PTT), funded by the RAF Charitable Trust. 

The PTT, which was shown off at the Royal International Air Tattoo (RIAT) on the 17-19 July, will help teach the basics of flying before Cadets get to try out the real thing once Air Cadet gliding operations are given the go-ahead once more.

Flt Lt Andy Sweetmore is Project Officer for the PTT programme based at the Central Gliding School at RAF Syerston, he says: "I've been involved in the scheme from the start. We had a wooden prototype at the launch of the PTTs scheme in May 2014, when Sir David Jason performed the official opening, and the first two went out in time for Christmas.

"The one we showed off at RIAT was taken to Little Rissington straight after the show, and is now ready for use. Staff of the Volunteer Glider Squadron have been trained to operate it, and the PTT will be used first to get instructors back up to speed then for Air Cadets."

The charity took the opportunity to invite VIPs at the Royal International Air Tattoo (RIAT) to try out the flight simulator, and guests including Prince Michael of Kent, Chief of the Air Staff Air Marshal Sir Andrew Pulford, and actor Matthew Lewis, enjoyed brushing up their flying skills. Each PTT costs £25,000 and the overall grant of £625,000 is the biggest the Charitable Trust has ever awarded.

Andy explains: "A lot of work has gone into the development of the PTT and it's as close as you can get to actually flying a glider." 

The initial project was scheduled to last five years, but with Air Cadet gliding operations being paused, the Trust speeded up the funding so the PTTs could be incorporated into training: it's hoped that all 25 will be in place, across the UK, by early 2016.

Andy says: "Without the Trust funding this wouldn't have been possible, and we'd be looking at a very different picture. Everyone involved in Air Cadet gliding is very grateful to the Charitable Trust for its generosity."

CAPTION: HRH Prince Michael of Kent tries out the Little Rissington PTT at RIAT, under the watchful eye of Flt Lt Andy Sweetmore. 

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