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The Sky's The Limit With Flight Academy

Published: 23 Aug 2015   updated: 25 Aug 2015

An Oxford flight academy has stepped in to award a high-flying prize to the top Air Cadet at this year's Royal International Air Tattoo at RAF Fairford in Gloucestershire.

Normally the winner of the Cadet of the Camp Award takes home a trophy, a goodie bag, and the honour of being acknowledged as the best Air Cadet at the airshow. This year, however, a generous offer from CAE Oxford Aviation Academy means that the cream of the cadets has received a scholarship to learn how to fly.

Cadet Cpl Matthew McClune, 18, a member of 2241 (Regent House School) Sqn, Northern Ireland Wing, received the accolade after working as a volunteer at the airshow in England. He was amongst 800 cadets who helped prepare the showground and then were on hand to tackle anything that needed doing over the three days of the show.

He's now completed a two-week residential course at the CAE Oxford Aviation Academy, comprising 20 hours instruction in the Piper PA28 Warrior, a single-engine fixed-wing aircraft used to train new pilots for airlines. The course also included one hour's instruction in a commercial jet simulator, plus accommodation and food: together the package was worth over £7,500.

The scholarship was presented by Air Marshal Sir Kevin Leeson, Chairman of the RAF Charitable Trust and President of the Royal International Air Tattoo, and CAE Oxford Aviation Academy's Centre Manager Andrew McFarlane. 

Matthew, who will be starting his final year at Regent House Grammar School in September, has been a cadet for four years. He said: "I was surprised and proud to be presented with the award for Best Cadet on camp, and the amazing prize of a flying scholarship with CAE Oxford Aviation Academy. This will be invaluable in helping me achieve my ambition of becoming a pilot and I could not be more grateful for this incredible opportunity."

Mr McFarlane said: "The team here at CAE Oxford Aviation Academy is proud to be able to play our small part in helping the Air Training Corps to develop the pilots of the future. It was fantastic to see all of the cadets having a great time at their camp: what an excellent opportunity for them. Once the scale of the prize had sunk in, Matthew was very excited about the whole process, while his whole family were delighted with his achievement."

He continued: "Initially we are able to commit to offering this award for the next three years, with the intention of presenting this on an ongoing annual basis."

Wg Cdr Darren Williams, Officer Commanding Royal International Air Tattoo Air Cadets, said: "The best cadet was selected from written nominations by the flight staff, and I believe it went to a most deserving young man. He had been selected for a gliding scholarship, but the day he was due to start was the day the entire Air Cadet glider fleet was grounded."

CAPTION: Cadet of the Camp Cadet Cpl Matthew McClune is pictured receiving his scholarship from Air Marshal Sir Kevin Leeson.

“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

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Jenson Button, Former Formula 1 Racing Driver

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Al Worden, Apollo 15 Astronaut

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