Join the Air Cadets for high-flying fun

Bradford Air Cadets having fun at Belle Vue barracks

Bradford Air Cadets having fun at Belle Vue barracks

First published in News Bradford Telegraph and Argus: Photograph of the Author by , T&A Reporter

If you want to make a flying start to your career, join the Bradford Air Cadets.

The group, which is based at Belle Vue Barracks in Manningham, is fun, adventurous and educational – and is also on the lookout for new members.

Flying instructor Kris Smith said: “A lot of the cadets want to be pilots, some want to be engineers, but some just come for fun.”

The cadets, who are aged between 13 and 18 years, take part in various drills and activities at the barracks, including tasks such as lowering metal bars to the floor or throwing tennis balls around in sequences, both to improve their reactions and co-ordination.

They also have lessons on aviation and carry exercises into situations such as bomb safety.

Mr Smith is keen for more cadets to come on board and added: “It is something a bit different.”

One of the big – and perhaps more exciting – differences about the air cadets organisation is the chance to get up in the sky and fly.

Pilot Officer Jordan Cameron, 27, who is based at RAF Topcliffe, near Thirsk, said they take would-be pilots from the Bradford squadron from the age of 13 years and three months.

They fly a glider with an engine – a two-seat training aircraft.

Mr Cameron said: “It is an aircraft and there is a dangerous element to it and they love it.

“There are not many people who can say they have flown an airplane before they have driven a car!”

He added: “The initial flight is centred around the basics of flight, such as how the aircraft responds and how it is controlled. The kids can have a go even on the first flight when we get to a safe height.

“Any child interested in aviation that has a go on an aircraft’s controls is buzzing. We teach them basics right through to take-off and landing, and dealing with emergencies.”

And to anyone considering whether or not to join the air cadets, Mr Cameron had this message: “The air cadets organisation inspires you and builds your confidence without any shadow of a doubt. It increases your knowledge on things – not just aviation.

“It motivates you and gives you fantastic people skills.

“The whole process is geared to giving you a headstart on whatever chosen career path you have got. It is worth its weight in gold.”

Senior flight staff cadet Matt Eckersley, 18, of Topcliffe, near Thirsk, has flown with Bradford cadets. He has been a cadet since he was 13.

He said: “For me it has been quite a big stepping stone to lots of other opportunities that people do not normally get, such as going on camps abroad to places like Gibraltar, Cyprus and Germany for a minimal fee. I went to Germany for about £20 for a week.”

He continued: “I joined because I have quite a big passion for flying and this enabled me to do that for free.

“My aspiration is to be a pilot in the air force. Everything I have done has given me background knowledge, as well as vital fundamental skills.”

Bradford Air Cadets meet on Mondays and Fridays between 7pm and 9pm. Their base is Belle Vue Barracks, Drill Parade, Manningham Lane, Bradford. If you are interested in joining, ring the cadets’ base on (01274) 742954, or visit facebook.com/44fbradford. Alternatively, follow them on Twitter at @44fbradford.

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