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Air Cadets Take to the Skies with Red Arrows

Published: 07 Jul 2016

A group of young air cadets has been given a taste of the high life when they joined one of the world's premier aerobatic display teams, the Red Arrows, on their trip to the Air Tattoo today.

The nine RAF air cadets were invited on-board the Hawk T1 aircraft to sit in the rear seats for the team's 150-mile flight from RAF Scampton, Lincolnshire to RAF Fairford, Gloucestershire. 

Only the second time in history that a group of cadets has flown with the Red Arrows, the nine were chosen having reached the shortlist for the Dacre Sword, the RAF Air Cadets annual award for the best male and female cadets.

The 30-minute flight, which did not involve any aerobatics, gave the cadets an opportunity to witness first-hand how the jets are handled as they flew up to 400 mph.

RAF Air Cadet Ambassador, Honorary Group Captain Carol Vorderman, was on the ground to greet the cadets and pilots as they flew in. "I wish I was a cadet," exclaimed Grp Cpt Vorderman as the Red Arrows and the air cadets landed. 

Cadet Warrant Officer (CWO) Kathryn Flower, 19, from 215 (Swansea) Squadron, who sat behind Flight Lieutenant Mike Bowden in Red 4, said: "It was incredible.  A once in a lifetime experience.  It was an honour to fly with the Reds. I'm almost speechless."

Red 4, who himself was a cadet in Newport, Wales said: "There wasn't anything like this available when I was a cadet.  It was great to take a fellow cadet on a trip of a lifetime. To bring them to RIAT and fly them in just before the main air show has been exciting - and different."

The full list of cadets flying with the Red Arrows were: CWO Kathryn Flower 215 (Swansea), David Folder 1284 (Tenby), Jack Gray 1333 (Grangemouth), Joanna Kelly 142 (Trinity), Emily Bethell 236 (Bollington), Elin Caine 186 (Newent), Benjamin McMillan 73 (Huntingdon) and brothers Benjamin and Jake Southern from 197 (Devonport) squadron.  

“It was an epic spectacle, as magical as anything you've ever seen in the West End, and as loud as anything you've ever heard at Knebworth.”

Jeremy Clarkson, Television Presenter

“All the thrills, excitement and noise of a Grand Prix, but in the air!”

Jenson Button, Formula 1 Racing Driver

“This is the best airshow!”

Buzz Aldrin, Apollo 11 Astronaut

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