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28 October 2014
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Nina Davey in a glider, with Mick Headleand

Why not take to the skies?

Would you like to learn to fly a glider, lead a band, or train youngsters in other activities? The Air Training Corps is looking for adventurous people to train so that they can pass on the skills to teenagers.

BBC Radio Cornwall's CSV Producer, Nina Davey, took up the air bound challenge and went along to Predannick Airfield to test her wings...with no engine.

Mick shows Nina where she'll be going
Mick shows Nina where she'll be going

The idea of the training for the Air Cadets is to help them get their flying wings, even though some of them are not old enough to drive.  The volunteers who make it possible come from all walks of life: the control tower is manned by a police officer, there's a drainage engineer on the runway and the man in overall charge is a tax inspector.

Nina Davey was in the expert hands of Master Aircrewman Mick Headleand, whose day job is training search and rescue teams at RAF St Mawgan.

Safety briefing completed, and parachute on her back, she was strapped into the  Viking Trainer Glider for a flight over The Lizard.  Mick climbed into the seat  behind her.

Nina describes the experience as exhilarating:

There she goes!
There she goes!

"Take-off was a shock to me - it was as though we were catapulted into the sky.  However, once I was  able to look down 1800 feet to the sea, the cliffs and the patchwork fields it was a marvellous sensation of surfing in silence - I can recommend it to anyone who has time at the weekends.  It's a bolt hole of adventure and camaraderie."

The Commanding Officer of the Gliding School, Squadron Leader Ross Goldsworthy (the tax inspector) has another reason – he says it keeps him sane during the week!

The cadets enjoy learning to fly the gliders so much that they stand out on the runway in freezing conditions to help with take-off and landing.  They say it’s worth it when the time comes for their flight.

Some of the Air Cadets taking to Nina Davey
Back down to earth, talking to cadets

If you're interested in learning to fly and think you have the skills to pass on your knowledge at weekends, contact the Air Cadets Wing Headquarters on 01637 857638 or email Flt Lt Francis Reis: francis.reis@plymouth.ac.uk.

Even if you don't take the plunge and go airborne, volunteers are also needed on the ground, to help run many aspects of the Air Cadets.

Hundreds and hundreds of young people in Cornwall are Air Cadets. They gain many skills during their time as cadets, but to enable this to continue, more trainers are required.

You don't necessarily have to be a total fitness champion, trainers are needed indoors and outdoors, for fitness activities, indoor projects, and of course there are musical assignments available as well.       

Air Cadets band
St Austell Corps Band

The drums, fifes and flutes of 1225 squadron St Austell Corps were only formed last year but already they've played at fetes  and led the dancers at the City of Lights Parade, all very impressive as they don't have a band leader. 

Natalie and Harry say they're doing their best but would really benefit if they had a music mentor  to guide them - can you help?

If you think you can offer music to the ears of these enthusiastic youngsters, see the number at the bottom of this feature.

After listening to the band, maybe something a little more laid back and peaceful is up your street.

Andy Good is one of the civilian instructors in Cornwall.

Andy Good with Nina Davey
Andy Good talks to Nina Davey

He says the Air Training Corp are desperate for more volunteers to put their skills to good use - his interest is model aircraft.

He has taught the skill to many youngsters in Cornwall and agrees it's great fun to be involved in the cadets.

If you have some spare time, and bundles of enthusiasm then being an Air Cadet trainer could be just the thing for you.

For more information, contact BBC Radio Cornwall CSV on 01872 225522.

last updated: 02/02/07
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