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Longbenton Youngsters Fly to BTEC Success!

2014-07-15 20:05:02
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By Flt Lt G Richardson - 2344 (Longbenton) Squadron

A group of young people from Longbenton swapped their school uniforms for flying suits and took to the sky this week. The teenagers, all members of 2344 (Longbenton) Squadron, were given the present by staff at RAF Boulmer.

As part of a BTEC Diploma Training Day, the cadets took to the sky in an RAF Sea King Search and Rescue helicopter of 202 Squadron. For cadet 14 year-old Thomas Bell, from Killingworth, it was dream come true. “I’ve always wanted to fly in a helicopter; it was the most amazing experience I’ve ever had. It’s made me more determined to get the grades I need to become a pilot,” he said.

The station commander at RAF Boulmer, Group Captain Paul Atkinson has supported the squadron since he took command of the base and attended the annual awards presentation’s last year. The flight is a big ‘well done’ from RAF Boulmer for the Longbenton youngsters for winning the Lees Trophy to be announced as the Top Air Cadet Squadron in the UK.

Cadet Chloe Lowes, 14, of Camperdown said, “We got suited up and put our flying gear on. The flight took us across Northumberland. The best bit was flying with the side door open looking over Alnwick castle.”

The young people, aged 13 to 18, were on the base to engage in aviation and leadership activities and exercises designed to challenge perception and encourage creativity, whilst focusing upon teamwork and communication. There was also a computerised simulation exercise enjoyed to allow the young people to put the theory taught into practice as part of their assessment.

Cadet Corporal Daniel Horner, 18, of Longebton said; “The final simulation exercise was hard. Just when you thought you had the answer the situation changed and you had to re-evaluate and re-plan. It was good fun though and we all learnt from it.”

Squadron boos; Flight Lieutenant Gary Richardson, said; “The Liaison Officers at RAF Boulmer and the Sea King crew were great with our young people and helped them to learn in a fun and enjoyable practical way. We all thank them for allowing us to visit the base and support the continued development of our youngsters in such an amazing way – not everyone’s lucky enough to complete BTEC units like this!”

Longbenton Squadron is currently open to new members aged 13 – 18. If you’re up for a challenge then visit squadron at

For more information please visit the Squadron website

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