Back in the bitter cold of January, two Air Cadet Organisation pilots took to the skies as the first to try new motivational gliding packages, made available through a grant of £25,000 from the RAF Charitable Trust.
Now the scheme has come full circle, with Civilian Gliding Instructors Antony Russell and Daryl Mansbridge from 624 Volunteer Gliding Squadron (VGS) at RMB Chivenor and Flying Officer Steve Warren from 613 VGS at RAF Halton, taking the final flights under the scheme, aimed at keeping staff members motivated while maintaining their skills.
The trio took off from Devon and Somerset Gliding Club (DSGC) at North Hill, Devon, in mid-June, and this time the weather played its part, with lots of blue sky and thermals for the pilots to enjoy.
All normally fly the Vigilant motor glider so this was an opportunity for them to fly conventional gliders, with the instructors from DSGC enjoying introducing them to flying without an engine.
Each pilot experienced four aerotows (when the glider is towed up by a light aircraft), spinning in a K13 glider, aerobatics in a K21, and soaring in both types. Judging by the big smiles on their faces at the end of the day, everybody enjoyed flying the different types and experiencing aspects of flying they wouldn't normally try.
Fg Off Steve Warren said: "It was a really enjoyable day and, having not flown for so long made me realise how much I've missed the satisfaction of instructing cadets, I'm really grateful to the Charitable Trust for the opportunity to do it."
CGI Daryl Mansbridge added: "What a great day, with perfect weather being the icing on the cake. It was exciting to try new challenges whilst brushing up on the old handling skills. Thanks again to the Charitable Trust for a worthwhile experience."
Flt Lt John Bradbury from the Air Cadet's Central Gliding School commented: "The gliding grants and support we have received from the Charitable Trust during the pause in VGS flying operations has been fantastic. It has enabled 100 junior staff members, four from each of the 25 VGS, to fly at selected British Gliding Association sites, learning new skills and experiencing different aspects of flying. The overwhelming response has been one of incredible fun and an invaluable learning experience. A big thank you to the RAF Charitable Trust for providing this most welcome opportunity."
Amanda Butcher, Director of the RAF Charitable Trust, said: "Supporting the staff and giving them new opportunities is key to helping them pass on their enthusiasm and directly contributes to inspiring the next generation. The Trust has been delighted with the positive feedback from this initiative."
CAPTION: from left, Daryl Mansbridge, Steve Warren and Antony Russell with a K21 glider.