Twenty-nine RAF Air Cadets from nine different squadrons across Bristol & Gloucestershire Wing completed a Bronze Duke of Edinburgh’s Award Expedition last weekend. Fifteen cadets from 181 (City of … Continue Reading
The third Exercise Easter Drop got off to a flying a start on a cloudy Easter weekend at the Army Parachute Association Netheravon drop zone, where 15 cadets and 3 members of staff from across the wing descended to undergo their Static Line First Jump Course.
The course started early on the Saturday morning; where the group was spilt into two syndicates for ground school training; each with a different instructor. During the day they covered they course syllabus which includes; exiting the aircraft, body position, canopy control, landing, emergency procedures and lots and lots of practice, followed up by a written test.
The two syndicates progressed very well and one group was ready to jump that day, but the weather had other plans with the cloud base being far too low and wind limits too high for students. After a long day of intensive training there was only one way to help settle the excitement in the group; raiding two fast food joints and sticking a movie on (Terminal Velocity was not on order for the night).
On the Sunday we arrived nice and early again for the group to undergo refresher training, to make sure nothing had to been forgotten, and they were good to go…except the cloud base was teasing us again by being marginally too low.
Eventually the sun burnt holes into the sky to create large enough gaps for the students and it was a kit on call to get them up in the air. After their kit checks, they walked out to the Cessna Grand Caravan with Ride of the Valkyries in their hearts and looks of fear and excitement on their faces.
As they exited the aircraft you could hear them shout their safety counts; 1000, 2000, 3000, check canopy. And from here you could see them enjoying the canopy flight, trying out spirals with the occasional ‘YEE HAA’ punctuating the skies.
The cadets left aircraft with looks of fear and landed with smiles brimming ear to ear as they let their accomplishments sink in. It can be said a majority of cadets enjoyed the parachute experience and after their video debrief some manifested to go back up in the air; and they were lucky as they were just about the only people who were jumping due to the cloud base not pushing much above 4000 feet.
A special mention has to be given to the Army Parachute Association for accommodating the course, the instructors David Ballard and Rick Boardman, Harriet the Jump Master and everybody else who makes this annual event possible.
I would also like to say big well done to all those that jumped and for those who missed out on attending this year, keep an eye out for next year’s bigger and better course which will be celebrating the 75th anniversary of the ATC by getting 75 members of the ATC through the Static Line First Jump Course in a week; I look forward to seeing you there.