2008 Bawtry Squadron - Chinook Flight
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By CI Victoria Aldridge - 2008 (Bawtry) Squadron
Over 30 cadets and staff were invited to enjoy an experience of a lifetime when former 2008 (Bawtry) Squadron cadet, Flight Lieutenant Stuart Skipp dropped in to Robin Hood Airport on Friday 12th August with two Chinook HC.4 helicopters.
Flight Lieutenant Andrew Archer, Officer Commanding 2008 (Bawtry) Squadron, was a former Bawtry cadet along with Flight Lieutenant Skipp, who now instructs on 27 Squadron at RAF Odiham. He said "It was such a thrill to have this huge opportunity come our way, and I know that all who were lucky enough to fly enjoyed it immensely. We are so grateful to Flight Lieutenant Skipp for making this possible".
Along with Cadets from 2008 Squadron, some lucky cadets and staff from 103 (Doncaster) and 1053 (Armthorpe) Squadrons joined them on the pan for this exciting ride.
At 1000 hours safety briefs were given by the crew before donning our helmets and waiting as the gigantic blades began to rotate, creating what felt like a double heart beat thudding through us as we were only 40 feet away.
As the cadets boarded the tailgate of the Chinook it felt like walking through a huge hairdryer, with hot air being pushed into your face from the blades. Once aboard we were seated along each side, and once our seat belts were fastened it was thumbs up and we began to taxi towards the runway.
Just as in an aircraft there is a short lull, as the pilots receive final confirmation for take-off, it seemed like an age. But instead of beginning to accelerate down the runway, we began to lift. One lucky flyer Cadet Micheal Aldridge remarked "The vibration and the noise was pretty intense to start with, but once we moved forward and started flying it wore off, it was so cool".
Our flight took us over Bawtry, Tickhill, and as the Air Loadmaster dropped the tailgate open we could follow the A1 and take in the surrounding countryside and locate various points along the way like Cusworth House and the 3 large power stations to the North of Doncaster. Swinging round and heading back we followed the villages of Hatfield Woodhouse and Lindholme. As we reached Blaxton and Finningley we descended and approached the runway again, and it was sadly the end of rollercoaster ride on this magnificent machine.
From looking at the faces of the cadets, even from under the helmets, the grins could not be hidden and their excitement and awe at seeing this machine in motion can't be exaggerated. Another lucky flyer, Cadet Eloise Ford said "It was an amazing experience, I've stood in the back of a Chinook but never thought I would ever get the chance to fly in one". Even our own Commanding Officer stated he had waited 11 years to fly inside the Chinook and was even more thrilled to have a friend and Ex-Cadet be one of our pilots.
For more information please visit the Squadron website