Swimming Comp at RAF Honington

1249 Dereham attended a swimming competition at RAF Honington on the 18th of February.

Junior and senior boys competed in various events.

Junior boys-Cdt Kiel, Cdt flavell, Cdt Chapman, Cdt Hildon won gold in 150m medley and 200m freestyle relays

Senior boys-Sgt Allan won silver in 100m backstroke, Cdt Curl won gold in 100m breast stroke

Well done to all who competed!


Presentation Evening December 2022

Presentation Evening in December 2022 was hosted at RAF Marham. It was a wonderful evening which consisted of various awards and certificates being presented. To kick off the evening we recapped the year and looked back on some highlights, it was a busy year with many camps, events and opportunities attended by both staff and cadets. During the evening cadets received many different awards, certificates, qualifications and badges. 

We also had one of the biggest enrollments in the squadron's history!

Among the main Squadron, the decisions for the awards were very agonising with so many deserving candidates. 

Certificates in Space qualifications, First Aid, Cyber, DofE and Marksmanship along with new brassard badges were presented to name a few. 


Remembrance Parade 2022

Sqn cadets joined veterans, local and foreign dignitaries, service personnel, other youth organisations and members of the public to pay their respects to those who have lost their lives protecting the nation. The parade marched to the town's memorial from the Cherry Tree car park, and after a short dedication and lying of reefs, the parade made its way to St. Nicholas Parish Church. During the church service Adult Sgt London read a poem that he wrote, whilst inspired, on the recent World War I battlefield trip.

Winning Wing Drill Comp 2022

Wing Drill Team Winners 2022!

After the Heat the drill team competed at RAF Honington against squadrons from various places in Norfolk. The standard of drill and uniform was very high from all squadrons, but we managed to win by 43.5 points clear of the squadron in second place. 

Everyone performed spectacularly, and a huge thankyou to all the staff and parents who came to support. Especially SGT Olley, who had spent numerous hours practising and mentoring the team. 


Drill Comp Heat 1

Our Drill Team won their heat with 494.5 points! They are through to the finals where they are competing at RAF Honington. The Drill Team is made up of 13 cadets one of which takes command of the Flight. They practice a sequence of drill commands which are done on a drill square and then marked. They work very hard on making sure their uniforms and shoes are 100% perfect to represent our squadron!

Athletics Comp 2022

Sports is a big part of cadet life, and our cadets attended the wing athletics competition, participating in many different events including: long jump, sprint races, long distance and throwing events. In addition to the cadets, we also had many staff and parents that came to support everyone. While winning trophies and medals is a happy consequence, taking part with everyone cheering you on is almost just as fun!

The Norfolk Show Parade

Many of our cadets, alongside Cadets from Norwich Squadron, represented the ATC at the Norfolk Show. In the Grand Ring, the cadets, in their smartest uniform, paraded round the ring. Everyone was very smart and did us proud! And with the opportunity to talk to the members of the RAF, and other armed forces that attended in the Military Village, it was a lovely day and great opportunity for the cadets to learn more about others experiences and roles.

Squadron Dinner 2022

The Squadron dinner is a great opportunity for all the cadets and staff to come together and celebrate being a part of the Squadron. It is also an opportunity to show appreciation to the staff members for their dedication and effort toward the cadets. Everyone has a lovely meal followed by a disco, which everyone has a great time partaking in. The Squadron Dinner is for a lot of cadets, one of the year's highlights and an event that everyone looks forward to and gets involved in.  

Race for Life 2022

Some of our cadets went to Race for Life at the Norfolk show ground to help support the Cancer Research events team, cheering on all the participants in the Pretty Muddy, 10k and the 5k races.

As well as marshalling the runners and starting off the races, the cadets helped by handing out much deserved medals and water at the finish line.  They also got fully involved in the zumba warm up!

Commonwealth War Graves

As part of Rememberance commemerations our cadets visited the local cemetary to learn more about the men and women of the Comonwealth Forces, who died in the First and the Second World Wars. We did this as part of the Commonwealth War Graves Commission project, who aim to honor and care for the graves of men and women of the Commonwealth who died in the First and Second world wars, ensuring that they will never be forgotten. In the past century, they have built over 23,000 cemetaries all over the world in aid of this cause. 1249 Squadron, as well as many other Squadrons across the country were tasked to learn about these people and some even submitted records to the Commonwealth War Graves archive. If you are interseted in learning more or even volunteering please visit their website. 

Rememberance Day 2018


On Sunday 11th November 1249 Sqn cadets joined veterans, local and foreign dignitaries, service personnel, other youth organisations and members of the public to pay their respects to those who have lost their lives protecting the nation. The parade marched to the town's memorial from the Cherry Tree car park, and after a short dedication and lying of reefs, the parade made its way to St. Nicholas Parish Church. During the church service Adult Sgt London read a poem that he wrote, whilst inspired, on the recent World War I battlefield trip.

Wing World War I Battlefield Trip 2018

During the October half term fifty cadets and staff, including Cadets Cockburn, Price and Smith along with Adult Sergeant London pictured to the left, travelled to France and Belgium for a World War I battlefield trip. On the four day tour they visited Canadian memorials at Newfoundland Park and Vimy Ridge, the German war cemetery at Langemark, Commonwealth War Graves at Lijssenthoek and Tyne Cot, Blackwatch corner and Thiepval Memorials and front line areas at Hill 60, Lochnagar crater and Essex Farm dressing station. Whilst at Lijssenthoek cemetary the cadets were split into groups and asked to research different graves and the significance of them and to give a brief talk to the rest of the group as to what they had learnt. The overall highlight of the tour was parading as part of the Last Post commemoration at the Menin Gate, Ypres Belgium, made even more significant as it was so close to the 100th anniversary of the armistice of World War I.

Central & East Region RAF 100 Multi-activity Camp 2018

In July Cadets Smith, Cockburn, Griffiths and Corporal Jackman, along with Adult Warrant Officer Lyons and Adult Sergeant London, attended the Central & East Regional RAF 100 multi-activity Camp at Beckingham Camp in Lincolnshire. 
Whilst on the camp cadets participated in a multitude of events including using three different craft in Paddlesport, canoeing, kayaking and stand up paddleboarding all in one session. Archery, clay target shooting and mountain biking were also on the programme, as well as visiting local RAF stations Coningsby, Cranwell and Scampton and completing the Lincoln Heritage Trail. 
The cadets on the camp were also the first in the Region to use two new pieces of equipment, an outdoor leadership kit featuring an obstacle course and other leadership tasks and a virtual reality flight simulator headset kit, enabling the cadets to totally emerge themselves in a flying experience.

Presentation Evening 11th December 2017

The achievements of over 30 young people from the Dereham area were celebrated on the 11th December at 1249 (Dereham) Squadron’s annual presentation and awards night. The squadron welcomed around 100 guests, consisting of local dignitaries, cadets parents, friends and family, and the squadron committee for the evening at the squadron headquarters, which also included the enrolment of fourteen new recruits into the Air Cadet Organisation.
The evening opened with a fabulous performance by the squadrons drum corps, this was followed by Flight Sergeant Williamson speaking about the Squadrons and her experiences and highlights over the last year.
Commanding Officer, Flight Lieutenant Tracey Allan then spoke at length about the varied camps, experiences the cadets had taken part in, including a Flying Scholarship with Tayside Aviation in Dundee and representing the Central and East Region in the Lees Trophy. This is as well as the huge number of awards they had achieved such as British Heart Foundation Heartstart, Duke of Edinburgh and various BTEC awards.   
The awards and their winners are as followed;
Harry Brooker Trophy - Cdt Simon Bird
Sports Cadet of the Year - Cdt Ryley White
RAFA Award for Adventure Training - Cdt Maya Langford
RAFA Award for Drill & Deportment - Sgt James Partridge
Best Effort in Duke of Edinburgh Award - Cpl Sam Bush
Civilian Committee Award for Most Improved Cadet - Cdt Jake Griffiths
Best Junior Cadet - Cdt Ryley White
Warren Owen 'Vires Audent' Trophy - CI Ella Mitchell
NCO of the Year - FS Evie Williamson
Cadet of the Year - Cpl Lauryn Neil
Best Flight - Victor
These were presented by;
Councillor Hilary Bushell - Mayor of Dereham, Councillor Richard Duffield - Vice Chairman Breckland Council, Wing Commander David Miller - Officer Commanding Norfolk and Suffolk Wing, Mr Paul Kendall - Secretary of the Civilian Committee, Mr Andy Mason - Head of School, Northgate High School, Mr Peter Loades - Chairman of Dereham & Swaffham RAFA Branch
Flt Lt Tracey Allan added "The cadets have worked incredibly hard this year and have shown great enthusiasm.  Those who have won awards tonight have done particularly well, however I am incredibly proud of what all of them  have achieved."

RAF Odiham Camp 2017

The seven cadets from 1249 Dereham Squadron were on camp at RAF Odiham when they were offered the chance to spend 25 minutes flying in a Chinook helicopter.

Cadet Lauryn Neil, who was attending a camp for the first time, said: “The flight was amazing, I was really nervous at first but once we lifted off and flew out over the airfield it was brilliant.”

Flight Lieutenant Tracey Allan, Commanding Officer of 1249 Squadron, added: “These camps are always a great opportunity for those cadets who have an interest in joining the Royal Air Force, to see first-hand what life is like for service personnel. Air experience flights are one of the huge bonuses of being an air cadet.”

Inter Wing Athletics June 2017

Congratualtions to Cdt Laura Griffin and Cdt Kieran Spooner for representing Norfolk & Suffolk Wing at the Inter Wing Athletics Competition in Bedford today. A gold, silver and bronze medal between them, and the Wing came second overall! A great day all round!

New cadets enrolled 8th June 2017

Thursday 8th June saw four new cadets enrolled into 1249 (Dereham) Sqn.  This was attended by family and friends.  Following the enrollment, tea and scones were served and the guests shown around the squadron by our proud new cadets. 

More pictures are available to view on the gallery page.

Heat winners of Wing Drill Competition 2017

Just posted on the Wing Facebook page......"Congratulations to 1249 Dereham Sqn who have won the Swaffham Heat of the Wing Drill Competition. A very high standard or drill and uniform from all Squadrons who competed this evening. Well done!".........YYYYYYEEESSSSSS!!!!!!! AMAZING GUYS!! WELL DONE!! And Bond apparently you were just one point off being the best NCO so you should be really proud of yourself! I'm so proud of all of you!!!

Regional Representatives for 2017 Lees Trophy


We are absolutely delighted, to announce that 1249 (Dereham) Squadron will be the Central & East Regional Representatives for the 2017 Lees Trophy.
After their inspection from the Regional Commandant, Assistant Regional Commandant and the Regional Total Safety Advisor in April the squadron are now through to the next stage of the competition. Below is more information and we will keep you up to date with our progress! Thank you to everyone who has helped us get to this stage!

Lord Lieutenant Awards 2017

Cadets and Adult Volunteers from all of the cadet forces, recently joined local dignitaries and senior officers at the Army Reserve Centre in Norwich to attend an award ceremony hosted by the Lord Lieutenant of Norfolk, Richard Jewson.   


The Lord Lieutenant is the Queen’s personal representative and every year he offers a personal commendation to those who have gone above and beyond within the various cadet forces.


This year CWO Kristian Crittenden from 1249 (Dereham) Squadron was chosen as the Royal Air Force Air Cadet Lord Lieutenant Cadet for Norfolk.  Kristian was nominated as his long and distinguished time in the Air Cadets has included him taking part in the Nijmegen Marches, the Corps, Drill & Ceremonial parade at RAF Cranwell as well as the prestigious Air Cadet Leadership course, he was noted as being a fine ambassador for his Squadron, Wing and Corps


Flt Lt Tracey Allan, Officer Commanding 1249 (Dereham) Squadron was also awarded a commendation for her work within the Corps.  After initially being commissioned in 2003, she assumed command of her current unit in 2010 and was praised for her community involvement and also leading the squadron to be the Lees Trophy nominees for the best Squadron in the Corps.


Flt Lt Allan added “I am truly honoured to receive this Lord Lieutenants Certificate, I love being a volunteer for this organisation, and I get a huge amount of gratification supporting the young people in our community.  I couldn’t do any of it without the team of other volunteers and cadets that work with me though, they are all brilliant.”


Presentation Evening 15th December 2016

The achievements of over 30 young people from the Dereham area were celebrated at the end of December at 1249 (Dereham) Squadron’s annual presentation and awards night.  The squadron welcomed nearly 100 guests, consisting of parents, friends and family, supporters of the squadron as well as the squadron committee for the evening at the squadron headquarters, which also included the enrolment of seven new recruits into the Air Cadet Organisation.


The evening opened with a presentation by the newly formed squadron drum corps, who after only a couple of months practice, pulled off an exceptional performance, this was followed by Cpl Williamson, Cdt Jackman and Cdt Kirk speaking about their experiences and highlights over the last year.


Commanding Officer, Flight Lieutenant Tracey Allan then spoke at length about the varied camps, experiences the cadets had taken part in, including RAF Regiment Work Experience, annual camps in Germany and parachute courses. This is as well as the huge number of awards they had achieved such as British Heart Foundation Heartstart, St John Ambulance Youth First Aid and various BTEC awards.   


Presenting the awards on the night, the squadron were delighted to welcome Councillor Philip Duigan, Mayor of Dereham, FS Stef Poole from the Dereham & Swaffham branch of RAFA, Flt Lt Peter Howlett Norfolk & Suffolk Wing Staff Officer, Ellise Owen and Carolyn Starling, Chair of the Civilian Committee.  Awards presented were as follows; 


Harry Brooker Trophy – Cdt Ellie Jackman

Sports Cadet of the Year – Cdt Laura Griffin

RAFA Award for Drill & Deportment – Sgt Ella Mitchell

RAFA Chairman’s Award for Adventure Training – Cpl Hugo Jones

Best Effort in Duke of Edinburgh Award – Cdt Sam Bush

Civilian Committee Award for Most Improved Cadet – Cdt Alex Jarrett

Best Junior Cadet – Cdt Lucy Kirk

Warren Owen ‘Vires Audent’ Trophy – CWO Kristian Crittenden

NCO of the Year – Sgt Ella Mitchell

Cadet of the Year – Cpl Evie Williamson


Flt Lt Allan added “We are incredibly proud of all of our cadets, they are a fantastic group of young people that have a huge amount to offer, and we are delighted to recognise their achievements this evening.  In particular those who have won awards.  They have gone above and beyond and have given a huge amount of time and effort into their time in the Air Cadets this year.  We are very grateful for the Mayor of Dereham visiting us for the first time and we are looking forward to being involved in more community events next year.


More pictures are on the Gallery page.


Summer Camp RAF Benson July 2016

At the end of July 40 cadets from across Norfolk & Suffolk Wing descended on RAF Benson in Oxfordshire to attend a week long camp with the aim to experience living and working on a Royal Air Force station.

After a long journey, the cadets were quickly allocated rooms and split in to flights before receiving a brief from the Air Cadet Liason Team, then completing a navigation exercise to familiarise themselves with the layout of the station.

The week was then made up of various trips both on and off station including the visiting the RAF Museum Hendon, section visits to the Air Traffic Control, high ropes course, Chinook Hangers, Fire Section, and a highlight was looking at the helicopter simulator centre.

Although, they could not get a flight in a Chinook the cadets were delighted to be able to fly in a Tutor with 6AEF, one lucky cadet was even able to fly with non-other than Wg Cdr Andy Green the current land speed record holder!

The cadets also enjoyed a visit to the NPAS (National Police Air Service) Benson and also Thames Valley Air Ambulance where they were honoured to give to them a donation of £176.52 raised from the camp canteen.

At the end of the Week award winners were Puma Flight for Best Flight, Best NCO Cpl Smale 863 (Thurston) Sqn, Best Cadet Cdt Elikwu from 231 (Norwich) Sqn, Best First Timer Cdt Warrick 1334 (Manningtree) Sqn.

Flt Lt Burlingham Camp Commandant added “We have had a fantastic week at RAF Benson, the whole station has been incredibly accommodating, and we can’t thank them enough for the effort they have put in to putting together an interesting and varied programme.  The cadets this week have been excellent, they have pulled together and have set a fantastic example of the Corps – I am varied proud of them”.

1249 (Dereham) Squadron are the Wing Drill Competition champions for 2016!

After winning the initial Wing Sector Competition at Swaffham in June, they then went through to the Wing finals held at RAF Honington on Friday 15th July.  All the polishing and ironing, in conjunction with the hours of drill practice paid off when the squadron pulled it out of the bag during the hotly contested final against 231 (Norwich), 1331 (Stowmarket) and 759 (Beccles) Squadrons.

Many of the cadets were highly praised for the effort they had put into their appearance and under the direction of CWO Crittenden the cadets executed their drill routine perfectly.

WO Lyons, who had been overseeing the team added “I am absolutely thrilled! Even after a few last minute changes the cadets have done themselves proud, I am so pleased that all their hard work had paid off.  Now we need to focus on the Regional Field weekend and aim to win that competition too”


Cdt Griffin Ramstein Overseas Camp 2016

At the beginning of August I was selected to go to an overseas camp to USAF Ramstein in Germany. We first stopped over night at Luxembourg Military barracks, visiting Luxembourg city, the National Museum of Military History and then going onto Ramstein base.


The next day we went around the base visiting a range of different sections and went swimming.

On Saturday we went to the Technik Museum Speyer where they had, trains, classic cars, racing motorbikes, planes, a U-boat and a space shuttle.


On the fourth day we visited Rüdesheim, going shopping and seeing the Niederwalddenkmal monument which was built after the unification of Germany in the 1870s, overlooking the Rhein.


We got up early the next morning in preparation for an hour and a half flight in a Hercules C-130 over the German countryside. In the afternoon we did some sports at the NCO Kisling academy.


The next day we visited Spangdahlem which is another USAF base in Germany. We looked around the hangers, an F-16 and the fire department. We went swimming in a lake and went to a traditional German restaurant.


The rest of the week consisted of a variety trips including a visit to the German Luftwaffe Bushul, and a high ropes course – finished with a visit to a chocolate shop!  I would certainly recommend this camp to any cadets – it was very informative and great fun. 


Cpl Jones Diamond DofE Challenge 2nd July 2016

On 2nd July 2016 I completed my Diamond DofE Challenge; the Fan Dance, a 15 mile hike over the Den Y Fan in the Brecon Beacons in Wales.  It is used in the Special Forces Selection process.

I did this challenge because I had just watched a TV programme about it and was fascinated.  I love hill walking and walking with weight, so I knew this would be an ideal challenge.  I chose to do the Diamond DofE challenge because I wanted to inspire others to get involved with the DofE and it’s another great once in a lifetime opportunity

Training was tough and I’d like to thank my mother for being chef, PT and logistics officer and driver.  The event was run by a company made up of ex-Special Forces operatives called Avalanche Endurance Events.  They recommended runs, 5x16km walks with 2/3rd weights and 2xfull distance with full weights.  It took up a lot of time but it was worth it.

The actual day came round with perfect weather, cool and clear.  I appeared to be the youngest person attempting the Fan Dance.  My mother waved her goodbyes and cleared off for a full English breakfast.  We received a safety brief which consisted of “If you see someone fall down, feel free to laugh at them and shout “Sniper”!”  I suppose I shouldn’t have expected much more from the black humour of the ex-Special Forces.

I have never pushed myself so hard in all my life.  Two miles in and I was hot and puffing.  Metres crawled by and the feeling that I wasn’t going to make it increased.  On the return leg however as I cleared Jacobs Ladder and reached the summit I have never felt happier and I wasn’t even finished.  The last downhill slope has a blind spot which I fell over in, I was thankful I was hidden from the others.

When I reached the bottom I was greeted with a firm handshake, completion patch and the nickname ‘goat’.  This was due to my slim build and accomplishment which put them in mind of a mountain goat.

It was no doubt the most physically and mentally demanding thing I have ever done and the best day of my life.

IET 28th May 2016

Well done to all 8 of todays I.E.T participants (and the 2 from earlier in the month!) There were some good basic Nav skills demonstrated today along with a good walk in the countryside carrying a little weight in your backpacks; all of which will help see you all through your upcoming DofE expeditions.

There's also NNAS Bronze awards on the way for Sgt Jake Medley and Cdt Ellie Jackman- well done!


Lees Trophy 21st April 2016

On 21st April the squadron underwent it's inspection for the Lees trophy.  The Lees Morris Trophy is awarded to the best squadron in the Corps, and this was the first phase of the competition after the Squadron was awarded the Best Squadron in Norfolk & Suffolk Wing.

The inspection was carried out by Reg Cmdt Group Captain Nigel Gorman and Asst Reg Cmdt  Squadron Leader Nathan Wilks. It was a somewhat chilly night but all the cadets were on parade when the Reg Cmdt arrived at the Squadron. 

Along with the cadets, the staff were introduced to the Inspecting Officer, these included our Squadron Padre and some of our civilian committee members. Once the parade was completed and everyone had retreated to the warmth of the Squadron building the staff had a chance to sit and chat with both Reg Cmdt Gorman and Asst Reg Cmdt Wilks. 

It was then the turn of the cadets to have a Q&A session with the Reg Cmdt, which from the laughter coming from the main hall sounded as if it was enjoyed by all.  The cadets were incredibly smart and well turned out, they were smiling, polite and engaging and were an absolute credit to both the Squadron and the Wing.


Congratulations Flt Lt Burlingham

Congratulations to Flt Lt Burlingham on receiving her Cadet Forces Medal for 12 years exemplary service.

Flt Lt Burlingham joined 1249 squadron in 1994 as a cadet before going on to become a Civilian Instructor and Squadron Officer.  She took over the squadron in 2010 and has continued to build on the success of the squadron which was proud to be nominated for the Lees trophy this year



Wingfield Weekend 2016


On 22nd April 2016 eight of our cadets headed off to the Wingfield weekend along around 230 cadets from the other squadrons in our region, along with approximately 80 staff.

A number of activities were undertaken including archery, first aid, fieldcraft, orienteering and raft building with river crossing.

It was a cold and miserable weekend weather wise but all the cadets gave their everything.

We were thrilled to come second in the shooting and second in the air craft recognition, beaten only by a tie-breaker.

Dereham cadets muck in to Clean for the Queen

Last weekend Dereham Air cadets joined in a national iniative to 'Clean for the Queen' whilst supporting a local heritage project.  


Clean for The Queen is a campaign designed to clear up Britain in time for Her Majesty the Queen's 90th birthday.  The idea being that communities, youth groups and schools show their gratitude to Her Majesty by cleaning up our countryside. 


The squadron was approached by the parish councillors of the village of Hoe to ask if the cadets would be willing to volunteer their time to clear a WW2 Pillbox on the edge of the village, that was previously part of the defence line for RAF Swanton Morley.   The squadron has a history with RAF Swanton Morley after previously being based there up until 1994 when it moved to its current location in Dereham so were more than happy to help.


After a walk to the village, a determined group of 15 staff and cadets got to work with removing the thick carpet of ivy that had completely engulfed the pill box over the last 70 years, and after 4 hours of hard work, managed to clear it completely. 

The local people were incredibly grateful and commented; 


"What an impressive, ‘can do’, bunch your cadets are and what an impressive thing they achieved.  It is  wonderful project and really great that the Pill Box, the Search Light field and Swanton in WW2 are being kept alive.  What delightful young people too."


CI Adam Flack who co-ordinated the event and also lives in the village added "The cadets all worked brilliantly, it was a huge team effort and the village are so grateful for the squadron's support."

Cpl Hugo Jones & Cpl Finlay Jones

Dereham Cadets take part in Diamond Challenge


This year sees Cpl Hugo Jones and Cpl Finlay Bond from 1249 (Dereham) Squadron take part in the Duke of Edinburgh Scheme's Diamond Challenge. 


The Diamond Challenge is set up to celebrate 60 years of the Duke of Edinburgh Award and encourages young people to choose a personal challenge, and raise money to support young people in your local area. 


Cpl Jones and Cpl Bond have decided to complete the infamous 'Fan Dance'.  This is a 24 kilometre hike across the Brecon Beacons carrying 35lb weight, and is used in UK Special Forces selection.  "I decided to choose this as my Diamond DofE Challenge because it will be a great experience but also something that will be completely out of my comfort zone.  We have already started training and are looking forward to doing more." 


Cpl Bond said "Part of me thinks it's going to be great, but it is going to be physically and mentally demanding"


As part of the challenge it is required that all particpants raise a minimum of £60 for the Duke of Edinbugh Scheme, and as such any donations are welcome.  To support their fundraising efforts they are asking people to visit and donate what ever they can.


Scuba Diving

On 25th January 2016 a group of cadets had an underwater experience.  

More pictures are available on our Gallery page.



From the 28th of September to the 11th of October I was lucky enough to be able to go and participate in the Air Cadet Pilot Scheme (ACPS) based at Tayside Aviation in Dundee, Scotland. I was one out of 184 lucky cadets selected each year from the entire corps. The ACPS involves 12 hours of flying lessons with RAF approved instructors, hotel accommodation and rail travel to and from Tayside fully funded by the ACO, with the aim of a solo flight at the end of the two weeks. The 12 hours of flying can also be used towards your Private Pilot’s Licence. With thousands of cadets applying for such limited spaces, you can’t help but feel extremely privileged and honoured to be given such an amazing opportunity.

The course began with a very early start and hopping on and off various trains as I made my way from Norwich train station towards Dundee, which was certainly a challenge whilst battling with a suitcase packed for two weeks (plus Sixth Form Work)! After finally arriving at the hotel, I met up with the 3 other cadets on the same course as me, all from different areas of the country. Due to way that the ACPS is operated there are always two courses running at the same time. There is a new intake each week so courses overlap, resulting in a junior and senior group. We met up with the senior group at dinner and we all became good friends. They also told us that the weather had been unusually good for the time of year, but low pressure was moving in so bad weather was on its way. Meaning the pressure was on to get in as many flying hours as possible and hopefully go solo before the weather took a turn.

Our first day at Tayside Aviation consisted of meeting Jim Watt, the owner, and the pilots who were to be our instructors. As cadets, we were given basic duties to perform at the start and end of each day. These included removing covers from the Piper Warrior aircraft used for the Private Pilot’s Licence students and moving our aircraft (Grob 115 Herons) in and out of their hanger along with basic cleaning and tidying tasks. We all managed to have our first flight that day due to the continued good weather, which consisted of basic manoeuvres and investigating how the controls effect the way the aircraft flies, similar to what cadets learn for their cadet classifications. We were also provided with all the information and equipment we would need for the two weeks, including a textbook and checklist for our aircraft.

Before all our flights we received a briefing about what exercises we would be doing with our instructors and also information about what the weather was doing that day as well as what aircraft we were flying in (they all had their own nicknames and personalities!). We soon discovered that the best time for flying was late afternoon, as the sun setting over the river Tay was a truly amazing and beautiful sight that you could never get used to. We certainly felt like real pilots and many Top Gun jokes were made

Over the two weeks, we covered all aspects of flying we would need to enable us to fly as a solo pilot, including:

  • Take-off and landing
  • Effects of the controls (ascending/descending and turning)
  • Checks to carry out in flight and prior to any activities
  • How to recover from stalls and engine/technical failures
  • Talking to Air Traffic Control
  • Flying in a circuit

We also had to pass a written exam which tested our knowledge of the theory aspects of the course.

When we weren’t at the airport, we spent our time mainly all in one of our rooms at the hotel helping and testing each other on the theory behind previous or future exercises (as well as watching and debating the rugby world cup!). I still feel extremely lucky that I was part of a group that gelled so well together, as I feel it helped make the experience for myself so much better. . During our time in Dundee we also managed to witness the Northern Lights, which was an amazing experience in itself.

All too soon the two weeks were coming to an end. Eventually the low pressure caught up with us, bringing low cloud and rain meaning we spent the majority of the second week on the ground. However, two cadets on our course did manage to complete their solo flight two days before the official end of our course, so we had cause for celebration before they left the next day. Unfortunately the other cadet and I were unable to attain our solo flight. Although this was disappointing, just the thought of all we had learnt and the experiences we had gained were amazing in themselves and reminded us of how lucky we were.

The ACPS is certainly an experience that I will never forget and is most definitely the best experience of my cadet career. I would like to extend my thanks to my flying instructors Tom and Alasdair for all their help (and patience!) over the two weeks, as well as all the ACO staff that made my experience possible. The ACPS has also helped me to realise that I definitely want to have flying as a part of my future career.   

Air Cadets support Open Water Swimming 

1249 (Dereham) Squadron cadets recently supported the Amateur Swimming Association Outdoor Swim at Whitlingham Broad in Norwich for their regional open water championships.


The event run jointly run and organised by squadron treasurer Paul Kendall sees over 400 athletes take part in a number of races over four distances, 5k, 3k, 1.5k and 800m.


The cadets assisted the organisers in a number of roles including handing out water, selling programmes assisting the competitors and liaising with the public.


Cdt George Rowley attending the event for the second year said “It was a great day, and we were kept busy by doing plenty of jobs including selling programs and help moving swimmers bag.   The staff really appreciated us being there and got a free boat ride and lots of cake which was  a bonus!”


Mr Kendall added “The cadets were a massive help, and we really appreciated the hard work they put in throughout the day”

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