Inzpire’s Head of Synthetics, Bob Chevli (pictured above) and Mission Systems Project Manager, Stu Wallace, give us a great insight in to what their role entails…
About Air Experience Flights
Air Experience Flight (AEF) instructors are all current or former RAF Service pilots who volunteer to pass on their knowledge and enthusiasm for flying to cadets aged between 13 and 20. Flying takes place at one of 12 AEFs around the country, mainly at RAF stations. The cadets are shown how the aircraft flies and given the chance to control it and experience aerobatics; and the views from 3,000ft are stunning.
Up in the air
Every air cadet gets the opportunity to have a flight each year. Today’s Air Cadets join a long list of cadets going back over 50 years – including royalty – who have benefitted from this fantastic experience. The first AEFs were formed in 1958 and flew the DeHavilland Chipmunk which served faithfully for almost 40 years until it was replaced by the Scottish Aviation Bulldog.
Around 15 years ago, the Grob Tutor became the aircraft for AEF and elementary flying training for UK Armed Forces. It has great visibility from its large canopy and is agile enough to allow it to perform full aerobatics.
Inzpire at 7 AEF
Inzpire personnel Bob Chevli, Paul Laugharne and Stu Wallace volunteer their spare time to help foster an enthusiasm of flying to the teenage Air Cadets at 7 AEF, RAF Cranwell in Lincolnshire. Inzpire supports its reservists by allowing time for medical checks and occasional flying mid-week. The importance of the task cannot be underestimated: whilst the Air Cadets are not a recruiting organisation for the RAF, membership puts former cadets ahead of the competition. Many cadets go on to great success in the RAF (and the other Services). Around 40% of officers and 50% of all aircrew (including pilots, navigators and engineers) in the RAF now are ex-cadets. Research shows that they do better in basic training and stay in the Service longer than their colleagues. This is reflected in the quality of Inzpire personnel, with the proportion of former cadets at Inzpire sitting at approximately 50%!
Stu Wallace takes to the skies!
A Pilot’s Perspective – Bob Chevli
“As a Volunteer Reservist Pilot serving on 7 AEF at RAF Cranwell, I have the privilege of participating the Cadet Force Organisation aim to promote and encourage a practical interest in aviation and the Royal Air Force among young people. For me personally that means that I commit a majority of my Saturdays to being able to fly at the AEF. The AEF is a mixture of volunteer reservists like myself and those still serving fulltime, and it provides a fantastic opportunity for people like me to re-connect directly with those still serving.
A normal day commences with met brief and a master plan to ensure that all the cadets get the very best possible flying experience in the safest manner practical. We often share the aircraft and other infrastructure with members of the East Midlands University Air Squadron, who also make use of the quieter skies around Lincolnshire to progress their flying experience at the weekends. Having walked to the aircraft, our cadet will be brought to us and carefully strapped into the aircraft, for many of them it is the very first time that they have ever been in an aircraft.
Having strapped them in I start the noisy engine and take us both to the runway in use, completing all of the required safety checks and radio calls along the way. With one final reminder of what to do in the very worst case of having to abandon the aircraft we then launch into the blue yonder……
A normal cadet flight lasts about 20 minutes; and that is just the right amount of time to introduce the cadet to the basics of flying and to show them how G- force can be applied in more dynamic manoeuvres. There is always something of aviation interest to see when flying around Lincolnshire – recently I was flying with a cadet when we got the warning that the QRA Typhoon was about to launch, having moved safely away we watch with awe as the Typhoon streaked much higher into the yonder than us…sigh…
With those who are keen we are allowed, if they ask us, to do some aerobatics. An excellent combat indicator is if when you fly that first loop, your cadet starts giggling then it’s going to be a fun trip.
Fun is the name of the game and the mission is always to bring the cadet safely back with a smile on his or her face, and at the end of the day, with the mission achieved it puts a smile on my face too.”