1400 cadets swoop in on Leuchars for training event

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More than 1400 cadets and staff took to the skies last week during a two-day RAF100 training day at Leuchars Station.

Cadets travelled from around Scotland, Northern Ireland and the north of England for an unforgettable ride in a Chinook helicopter.

The crews from RAF Benson and RAF Odiham worked tirelessly for two days and each flight carried around 20 cadets.

The staff and cadets onboard were given a ten-minute sortie around the airfield.

Cadets and staff have described the exercise as a trip of a lifetime and the majority left the helicopter with beaming smiles.

Cadet Abigaile Roebuck from 161 first Highland Squadron, said: “It’s my first time on a helicopter and it compared to nothing else.

“I loved it!

“I’ve known for a long time that I wanted to be in the RAF but I wasn’t sure if I wanted to be an engineer or a pilot. But from this trip I can say I do want to be a pilot and I do want to fly a Chinook.”

The last flight of the day had its own VIP, Air Vice Marshal Rose Paterson, the Air Officer for Scotland.

He was joined by a group of Scottish dancers and the flying aces.

It wasn’t just an unforgettable day for cadets – adult volunteers were given the opportunity to participate too.

Squadron Leader Jamie Downey from West Scotland Wing, said: “It’s a great opportunity for cadets to take part in and get a flight in an RAF aircraft.

“These opportunities don’t come along very often.

“The ATC has been a great organisation for me too and staff have been given the opportunity to fly today – so anyone thinking of becoming an adult volunteer, do it.

“Next time you could be joining us for a ride in a RAF helicopter.”

Group Captain Jim Leggat, the Regional Commandant of Scotland and Northern Ireland, added: “It really inspires youth- aviation is at the heart of the air cadets and it really ticks the box of inspire during the RAF100 year.”