Squadron News

Cdt Sgt Prole goes solo!

Andrew awarded a Gliding Scholarship at 644 VGS RAF Syerston

What was the course like/what did it consist of?

The gliding scholarship took place at RAF Syerston in Lincolnshire where the RAF and Air Cadets have a large presence, this was especially noticed as many of the flight staff cadets and my fellow course mates were from large CCF and ATC squadrons with up to 400 cadets and direct linkages to the RAF.
The course was 9 days with all accommodation and food provided for £35 although £15 of that was used for a 644-squadron meal at a local pub. The accommodation was at RAF College Cranwell, and we all had individual rooms.

The course consisted of 11 exercises to complete including a solo flight at the end (assuming we were good enough) and each one had a group briefing to familiarise ourselves with the topic and what we would do in the exercise, however none of it came as a surprise as we were emailed the entire exercise trainee guide before the course to read through and revise from.

Every morning there was an entire squadron brief which discussed the weather and the day plan in great depth which we were always involved in which made us feel part of the VGS team. The staff were all incredibly friendly and were always ready to help and provide guidance to us on anything from flying to caring for the aircraft and making the perfect cup of tea.

Each day we had breakfast at 7 and travelled in a minibus to RAF Syerston (about 45 minutes) over this time many songs were song and played. Then we would prepare the gliders by polishing the canopies and helping our instructors check the aircraft. We would then have a morning briefing with the weather and flight plans for the day and then walk out the aircraft for flying. After around 4-7 launches which were constant learning, we would either stop for lunch or help out on the ground with attaching cables and launching aircraft. After lunch we would keep helping until our next sortie for the day which would be more learning before putting the aircraft away and cleaning them and going back to Cranwell for dinner. Then we would socialise and revise at the Lawrence club.



The staff at 644 VGS were all volunteers and were some of the friendliest and most welcoming people I have ever met. They were always ready to provide assistance and advice on everything and there was a real family dynamic between the staff. The instructors would try to remain teaching the same cadet throughout the course and because of that all of us on the course grew a friendship and greater appreciation for each of our instructors individually. They were also excellent teachers who worked tirelessly to help us and guide us through the course, especially toward the end when everything we learned came together and the workload increased as we grew more tired. Each instructor catered their teaching style to their cadet as well which was exceptional and helped us progress constantly.

The cadets both on the course and who were flight staff cadets at 644 were all amazing people who I will keep in contact with for a long time. We all shared a passion for aviation and could learn from each other on the course from both shared experience and vastly different experiences. We all came from different areas around the UK and from some vastly different backgrounds which made getting to know them both a pleasure and an experience that I would never have received anywhere else.

The staff dynamic was best on display when all the staff and cadets went for a squadron meal together. Everyone could relax and celebrate all we had achieved up to that point in the course, and it gave everyone a chance to talk to each other in a more relaxed and friendly manner.

The gliding itself was both rewarding and challenging in equal measure. As someone who had only flown once before I was concerned when I felt very airsick on my first flight, but by the third day it had disappeared by both becoming acclimatised to the movement and being actively involved in controlling the glider. It was an amazing experience and achievement not only glide, but to fly up to 14 launches a day for 9 days and then fly solo at the end. It was a once in a lifetime experience that will stick with me forever.

Flying solo after all the training and preparation was exhilarating, we were fully trained and had done over 6 circuits without any instructor input beforehand, but the freedom of being in the sky alone was a truly incredible experience. At no point in the flight was there a moment that we had not been trained for repeatedly, and that feeling of being fully in control was surreal. I will never forget the feeling of landing on my own and the satisfaction I felt.


The course was easily one of, if not the best experience of my life, and everyone involved was friendly and passionate. The staff at Syerston were like a big family and it was bittersweet to have to leave at the end after getting to know everyone for 9 days. The course was equal parts challenging and rewarding, and each day presented new and priceless memories. The other cadets on the scholarship were also extremely friendly and we will all be staying in contact for the foreseeable future as good friends. I would thoroughly recommend this course to anyone and everyone as a priceless experience that you will never forget. Flying solo is the most rewarding achievement and feeling I’ve experienced.

I have since been asked to consider becoming a Flight Staff Cadet at RAF Topcliffe where I could both help other Cadets to achieve this amazing experience and continue to develop my flying skills further into the future.

Cdt Sgt Flynn’s Momentous Achievement.

Abbi is awarded 1 of only 16 RAFA Flying Scholarships for 2019

This weekend, 739 Scarborough squadron was privileged enough to have one of our own cadets, Cdt Sgt Abbi Flynn, awarded with a flying scholarship from the Royal Air Force Association (RAFA). Air Chief Marshal Sir Stephen Hiller, the Chief of the Air Staff topped off the application experience and presented Cdt Sgt Flynn with her scholarship which is to start in the summer.

However, this momentous achievement didn’t come without hard work; Cdt Sgt Flynn was competing against another 250 cadets from many different organisations across the UK who had also applied for the 11 spaces available on the scholarship. To narrow down the applicants, they had to select 25 people from all the applications. These 25 were further narrowed down to 16 and then invited to RAF College Cranwell to sit the RAF Officer and Aircrew selection tests along with interviews. To stand out from the crowd Cdt Sgt Flynn had to explain why she was worthy of receiving such an opportunity that only a select few cadets can experience each year. But with determination and the goal in sight, she was able to pass all these tests and interviews and emerge successful.

After being informed of her success, Cdt Sgt Flynn was then invited to the RAFA annual conference in Birmingham to formally collect her scholarship from Air Chief Marshal Sir Stephen Hiller.

After comprehending her achievement, Cdt Sgt Flynn had the following to say - “Being awarded a scholarship from the Royal Air Force Association is a very humbling experience that I will be forever grateful to the organisation and the Air Training Corps for. To have 12 hours of free flying tuition is potentially a once in a lifetime experience for me. I would also encourage anyone else interested in aviation to join the ‘Royal Air Force Air Cadets’ and pursue a scholarship too – you don’t know until you try”.


Flt Lt Steven Lewis RAFAC, Officer Commanding 739 Squadron said "Sgt Flynn has been a cadet with us now since age 12 joining just after the age you could join was lowered. I took her on her very first flight in a Grob Tutor at RAF Linton On Ouse and she was extremely apprehensive and nervous and after the flight stated she would never go flying again.


We were concerned she would miss out on one of the most enjoyable cadet experiences of the Air Training Corps so we gently persuaded her to try it again and since then she hasn't looked back. When she came to me and asked if I would support her application for a RAFA flying scholarship I had no reservations is saying yes.


We are so proud of her achievement against a field of very high calibre young men and women to succeed and be awarded this prestigious award and she is an inspiration to those around her and definitely an example to be followed."


Story by Cdt Sgt Goerge Brown & Photos provided by Cdt Sgt Abbi Flynn



739 delivers Archery experience to cadets.

£2500 investment enjoyed by 36 cadets and staff

Thanks to the good weather on Friday evening and Saturday all day 36 cadets from 739 Scarborough Squadron (17 cadets) and our friends from 266 Stockton (8 cadets and staff), 740 Whitby (7 cadets & staff) & 2394 East Cleveland (4 cadets and staff) Squadrons enjoyed our new Archery equipment.


We really couldn't have asked for a better day with blue skies and low wind allowing us to conduct an outdoor archery session using the Squadrons new equipment which was partly funded by a generous donation from Central & East Yorkshire Wing ATC and donations from the general public.


Hundreds of arrows were shot at the two targets and luckily only two damaged, but repairable - no Robin Hood shots today which is kind of lucky as the OC forgot the haribo!


Everyone seemed to really enjoy it with lots of smiles and shaken hands at the end of the day to the 739 staff for arranging the day. We thank our friends for travelling far to join us in enjoying this fantastic activity and long may the collaboration continue.


If this kind of thing interests you we have another intake in less than two months. We train all cadets and staff under official Archery GB qualified instructors and use their rules for governance.


Flt Lt Steven Lewis RAFAC, Officer Commanding 739 has dreamed of bringing this activity to 739 Squadron for years and to have it finally become a reality really is the proverbial "icing on the cake". Well done to all who attended and we sincerely hope to see you all again with us soon and that you enjoyed it!


Story by Flt Lt Steven Lewis RAFAC


#noordinaryhobby #noordinaryvolunteer

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