Flight Training

Membership of 497 Squadron gives you access to a range of opportunities to fly with the Air Cadet Organisation, including exclusive access to aircraft operated by the Royal Air Force. Our ground-based training programme has strong focus on the key aspects of the principles of flight and aircraft operation. This prepares cadets for their flight training.

Flight training in the Air Cadets falls into 4 broad categories:

  • Air Experience Flying in powered aircraft and gliders.
  • Air Cadet Pilot & Navigation Schemes
  • Gliding
  • Flight Simulation

Some or a combination of these skills often assists cadets in seeking Flying Scholarships with the Services or Aviation-related institutes, guilds, associations and similar organisations.

Flying activities are governed by the rules and regulations set down by the relevant aviation authorities and accordingly many flying activities are subject to age restrictions, assessments of knowledge, skills, experience and/or medical fitness, all of which are essential to maintain your safety and those of others.

Relatively few restrictions apply to Air Experience Flying. All cadets aged 13 years, 3 months and over will normally be offered an air experience flight every year and if they attend an RAF camp, can usually expect a second opportunity. The Air Cadet Organisation has access to 12 Air Experience Flights, located around the country. It also owns the world’s largest glider fleet and cadets are able to undertake a range of progressively advanced Gliding Induction Courses from the same age point. Many Cadets are also able to develop and maintain their flying and gliding skills through increased access to a range of advanced and realistic flight simulators.

At the age of 16, most cadets who have demonstrated commitment and ability can be selected for glider training. If they have passed their gliding induction and meet certain criteria they can be awarded a Gliding Scholarships, where they have an opportunity to go ‘solo’ and learn advanced gliding techniques. Subject to certain academic and meeting other criteria, they can then qualify for the Air Cadet Pilot or Navigation Scheme, which includes a package of training and around 10 hours of specialist fight training on powered aircraft or microlights, which may also contribute toward an individual gaining their Private Pilot’s Licence.

Role: To give basic gliding training to air cadets.

Specifications:

Engines: The aircraft can be winch launched or aero-towed
Thrust: 0lbs
Max speed: 119kts
Length: 8.18m
Max altitude: 8,000ft
Span: 17.50m
Aircrew: 2

The Grob G103A Twin II Acro, known by the RAF as the Viking T1, is used by the Air Cadet Organisation to give basic gliding training to air cadets. The aircraft is currently used by 11 Volunteer Gliding Squadrons located at various sites around the UK. Their role is to train air cadets to a standard that will allow them to fly solo. Courses available to the air cadets are the gliding induction course, the gliding scholarship course and the advanced gliding training course. The aircraft is again also used at the Air Cadet Central Gliding School, at Syerston, where it is used in the training of the VGS instructors.The Viking T1 is a high performance sailplane, which can be winch-launched or aero-towed. The aircraft is fitted with a non-retractable tandem undercarriage and upper surface airbrakes. It has tandem seating for a crew of two and is constructed using the latest techniques in industrial glass-reinforced plastic for light weight and strength. The Viking is used for basic training, high-performance flying and simple aerobatic flying and is a cost-effective, modern glider, ideally suited to its training role with the Air Cadet Organisation.

Role: To provide basic flying and gliding training to air cadets.

Specifications:

Engines: Grob 2500E1 horizontally opposed four-cylinder, air-cooled engine
Thrust: 95lbs
Max speed: 130kts
Length: 8.1m
Max altitude: 8,000ft
Span: 17.4m
Aircrew: 2

The Grob 109B motor glider, known by the RAF as the Vigilant T1, is used by the Air Cadet Organisation to give basic flying and gliding training to air cadets. The aircraft is built in Germany, but it has been modified to meet the RAF’s training requirements by the inclusion of an additional throttle in the cockpit and an increase in the maximum take-off weight. The Vigilant is currently used by 16 Volunteer Gliding Squadrons (VGSs), located at various sites around the UK. Their role is to train air cadets in basic flying techniques and to enable them to reach a standard where they are able to fly solo. Courses available to the air cadets are the gliding induction course, the gliding scholarship course and the advanced gliding training course. The Vigilant T1 aircraft is also used at the Air Cadet Central Gliding School, at Syerston, in Nottinghamshire, where it is used to train the VGS instructors.The aircraft is powered by a Grob 2500E1 horizontally opposed, four-cylinder, air-cooled engine, which provides a direct drive to a Hoffman Ho- V62 R/L160BT variable-pitch, two-bladed propeller. The conventional landing gear, which is non-retractable, comprises two main wheels with fairings, and a tailwheel, which is steered through the rudder pedals. A retrofitted throttle is provided for use by the left-hand seat, giving the student the familiar military configuration of right-hand stick and left-hand throttle arrangement.The Vigilant TMk1 is a cost-effective, modern aircraft. Its docile handling characteristics, combined with good fuel economy, make it an excellent training aircraft for cadets and instructors alike.

Role: Elementary flying training by the 14 University Air Squadrons and 12 Air Experience Flights throughout the UK.

Specifications:

Engines: Textron Lycoming AE-360-B piston engine
Thrust: 180lbs
Max speed: 135kts
Length: 7.54m
Max altitude: 10,000ft
Span: 10.00m
Aircrew: 2

The Grob 115E, known by the RAF as the Tutor, is used for Elementary Flying Training by the 14 University Air Squadrons and 12 Air Experience Flights throughout the UK. It is also used by the Central Flying School and for elementary WSO training at the RAF College Cranwell. All of the Tutors in RAF service are entered on the UK Civil Aircraft Register and are provided by VT Group. The Tutor is constructed mainly from carbon fibre reinforced plastic, which combines high strength with light weight. Like its predecessor, the Bulldog, the Tutor has side-by-side seating but, unlike the Bulldog, the primary flight instruments are on the right-hand side of the cockpit. This allows the student to fly the aircraft from the right-hand seat with a right-hand stick and a left-hand throttle so that future transition to fast-jet aircraft is made easier. Unpressurised, and powered by a Textron-Lycoming 180hp piston engine driving a Hoffman three-bladed, constant-speed propeller, the Tutor can cruise at 130kts at sea level and climb to 5,000ft in seven minutes. The aircraft has a very clean airframe and has a three-minute inverted- flight time limit, making it ideal for aerobatics where, unlike previous RAF light aircraft, it loses little or no height during a full aerobatic sequence. The aircraft has a very modern instrument and avionics suite, including a Differential Global Positioning System, which, apart from giving excellent navigational information, can also be used to generate a simulated Instrument Landing System (ILS) approach for training use at airfields where ILS ground equipment is not fitted for the runway in use. The Tutor is a cost-effective, modern elementary training aircraft. The combination of docile handling characteristics and good performance make it very suitable for its training role.

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