By Cpl Alden Midmer
The 2015 aerospace camp is the first camp of its kind and was created to celebrate the air cadets 75th anniversary, next year. This years camp was made as a tester camp to see what worked and what didn't ready for next year. The aim of the camp was to put the air back into air cadets.
Upon arrival at RAF Syerston the first activity that we engaged in was the VIP barbecue in which I had a chance to meet Air Commodore Dawn McCafferty and Squadron Leader Mike Ling, better known as the 2015 Red Arrows Red 10.
Once the barbecue had been eaten we were all gathered in the marquee so that we could listen to a talk from Red 10. He told us of how he became part of the Red Arrows and what training and requirements were needed, one of which being 1500 flight hours. We later found that being Red 10 was not his first role in the red arrows however he had been Red 3 and then part of the synchro team. After this he had then left but was asked again to rejoin when the Red Arrows lost two of their pilots.
Once the event had fully finished we were taken to our quarters which was at the army barracks in Grantham, quarters is only lightly used as each room contained 24 people.
Tuesday - 11th of August
We were awoken at 6 and then proceeded to get ready by 6:45, which is when we had to be formed up outside the mess. We were split up into our flights, mine being bravo 1, and then we headed into the mess for our full English breakfast. After breakfast my flight was informed that we would be going to Linton on Ouse for the day, we were going to learn about air to air combat and weaponry on the F-16.
At Linton on Ouse (Military Training and Tucano Flight School) we were allowed to use the F-16 flight simulator and we were all taught the basic controls of the aircraft.
While we were waiting for the others we were split into two teams and were given our challenge for the day. This entailed us to organise, with given vehicles and weaponry, an attack on specified targets putting them in order of importance over a three day period and to maintain an air defence.
After lunch we were taught various ways in which pilots perform air to air combat, this included the various ways to avoid locked on missiles and the uses of different types of missiles. All of which we would use after lunch and in the head to head challenge when we were tasked to destroy as many enemy aircraft as possible.
After the lesson we presented our ideas and findings on the daily challenge, ours being destroying airfields and enemy radar on the first day, making power stations and fuel depots unusable and destroying various command posts and high ranking people on the second day and on the last day wiping out all enemy ground units and various low ranking targets.
Once all our presentations were over we headed to the flight simulators once again for the head to head challenge and the chance to be crowned top gun. Some of us couldn't survive the ten minutes and others found it hard to find and shoot down enemies, however there could only be one winner... Me!
Once my glorious victory had been celebrated we were packed back on the bus and went back to the barracks for tea and down time. However when we got back we were surprised to find that the Hawk T2 demo team had come in to give a talk and various freebies.
Wednesday - 12th of August
Once again we were woken at 6 and were given full English breakfast for breakfast, however today we went to Syerston to have a go on the part task trainer and the portable flight simulator.
On the part task trainer we were taught the basic controls of the vigilant, pitch roll and yaw, and then after some practice we were allowed to have a go at landing.
However our lesson was cut short due the Red Arrows flying over at ten past eleven. At eleven we were all rushed outside for the photo opportunity and was promptly told that the Red Arrows were 'running behind schedule'. After waiting for fifteen minutes they eventually decided to turn up...
Once the Red Arrows had flown over and we had eaten lunch some of use went to the mobile simulator. We practiced our flying and landing skills in a Cessna and after we got used to the controls we were set a challenge to fly and land a circuit. After just about everyone managed to complete the task the winner was chosen by picking a number out of a hat and yet again I was crowned victorious.
After we had finished on the flight simulator we were taught how to use the radar at air traffic control, giving bearings to a tornado so that it can intercept a civilian air liner.
Thursday the 13th of August
Following the normal morning routine and breakfast, everyone headed off to Syerston for the VIP day. To show our skills to our guests we were doing a stem activity (science, technology, engineering and maths) for the day, this was to build a model aircraft which could fly the furthest. We spent a day of testing various different types of wing shape and the position of the wings on the fuselage. However by the afternoon we decided we would base our model on the Tucano. We began building immediately and our plane began to take shape despite having a few problems with the strength of bolster wood.
Once our Tucano was finished we showed our model and poster to the judges and then threw the Tucano in the competition. We didn't win however we weren't last either.
Friday - 14th of August
Once again following the same morning routine and then heading off to Syerston today a selection of us would be completing the new basic communications course.
Throughout the day we were taught various lessons on safety and different types and uses of radio. We were also taught how to do a radio check, send messages and how to respond and how to authenticate people (check that someone has not broken into your network).
After all the requirements for the syllabus had been taught we took a short test and then a practical test containing all the things that we had learnt.
Saturday - 15th of August
Once again arriving at Syerston after having the same morning routine today we were going to be doing various team building activities set up by a team of careers advisers.
The first activity was a listening challenge in which we were told to jump over a rope however sometimes we were told not to move in which case if you flinched you were out. After this we had a team obstacle course in which everyone had to pass through an inner tube and then the second race was to make all the letters of the alphabet by lying down on the floor.
Once we had finished the stations activities we moved on to a different team challenge. We had to build the tallest tower but no two colours could touch each other, in the end there was no overall winner. After the towers challenge we were all blindfolded and given shapes and we had to communicate with each other to find out have which shape was missing. Despite using a good system we were unable to find one of the shapes and therefore failed the challenge.
On the final activity we were tasked to build a bridge and car and then an obstacle course of which everyone else would try to get round in the fastest time. Despite having a lot of time penalties due to insufficient sized holes to go through we managed to end up an overall second.
After the challenges we were all brought together for a careers talk about roles in the military and different grades and requirements for each one.
Sunday - 16th of August
No clues for what we did in the morning. We went to Syerston which was for some people their last day of camp. The day was completely run by senior cadets and mostly contained challenges that would make us use what we had learnt previous days on camp, this included making a large scale marble run out of bamboo and guttering, communicating via radio and obstacle courses which required aerospace knowledge.
At the end of the day there was the camp photo and frantic tidying up and good byes.
The 2015 aerospace camp was a great camp in which lots of people from all over the UK and Cyprus came together to experience lots of activities to do with putting the air back into air cadets. Along with this lots of new friends were made and a great experience was had by everyone. Bring on Aerospace camp 2016!