Ellesmere CCF RAF cadets flying high

At the end of a busy Michaelmas term, the Ellesmere College Royal Air Force CCF cadets enjoyed a fantastic experience!

All the RAF cadets were fortunate enough to be given the opportunity of an air experience flight in a helicopter. This privileged opportunity was provided by helicopter pilot instructor WO1 John Sweeney AAC accompanied by Flt Lt Josh Main RAF, and FS Sam Smith RAF from RAF Shawbury.

Although the team all work from RAF Shawbury, it's a Tri Service establishment which trains RAF, Army and Navy aircrew. WO1 Sweeney is part of the Army Air Corps and currently instructs at Shawbury, teaching qualified pilots to become instructors. Flt Lt Josh Main RAF, and FS Sam Smith RAF are newly qualified, having recently passed their respective courses in August 2021. They will be holding at Shawbury for a year before they move to RAF Benson before starting their Chinook course. 

Over the previous couple of years, opportunities for RAF cadets having flying experience have been scarce and the cadets were excited to enjoy their 20-minute flights around the school and local area. The cadets were amazed to see the helicopter coming into land on Parry's field at the College and WO1 Sweeney and his team did a great job in introducing the cadets to the aircraft and answering all their questions.

With the safety brief completed and in groups of three, they were whisked away in the aircraft and circled around the local area; some being lucky enough to see their homes. On the final flight, WO1 Sweeney flew the helicopter in front of the main College building for what can only be described as an iconic moment, stunning a number of students who were watching from the grounds and within the boarding houses of the school.

Although opportunities to gain flying experience are beginning to become available again, there are still limited places accessible at cadet training facilities and the opportunity provided by WO1 Sweeney and RAF Shawbury has been very much appreciated. We hope that this will become an annual opportunity for the RAF CCF cadets and the cadets have offered a big thank you to WO1 Sweeney for providing this opportunity. We are so happy that the students were able to end the term on such a high and we hope they continue to enjoy the enriching experiences myself and Pilot Officer Spencer have in store for them over the rest of the year.

Flg Off J Haycock

RAF Commanding Officer

About the Helicopter

Aircraft: Airbus H135 helicopter used for basic and advanced  instruction of students at Shawbury.

Speed: 150 Kts (172 mph)

Range: 342 nm (393 miles)

Normal operating height is up to 7000 feet but the aircraft itself can go much higher.

15th February 2022  Back to News