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Reserve Forces & Cadets Association
Northern Ireland



11 October 2014

Air Training Corps cadets, 15 year old Cpl Bradley Loftus of 825 (Bangor) Sqn and 18-year-old Matthew Stewart of 2241 (Regent House School) Sqn from Donaghadee had the greatest experience of their flying careers, zooming over Wales at 20,000ft.

During a two-week camp at RAF Valley in Anglesey they were selected for flights in the Royal Air Force’s latest fast jet training aircraft, the BAe Hawk T.2.

After selection they both had to undertake a medical examination and were fitted out with flying clothing including helmets, oxygen masks, G-pants (so they could withstand extra G forces) and a lifejacket. They were only the second and third cadets to fly in the Hawk T.2 operated by 4 (R) Sqn RAF, whose main job is to prepare trainee pilots to fly Typhoons, Tornadoes and in the future F-35 Lightening 2.

Following briefings they were strapped into the rear ejector seat and went for the flight of their lives.  Zooming over Wales they were shown acrobatics and allowed to take control of the Hawk for a short time before doing a few practice circuits followed by a parachute streaming landing.

Usually flying for cadets is in the Vigilant powered gliders, in which they can progress to instructor standard and in the Grob Tutor trainer.