International Air Cadet Exchange (IACE)

IACE 2010 with F/SGT Phillips

The aim of the Association is to foster international understanding, goodwill and friendship among young people who have an interest in aviation.

It endeavours to realize this aim by organizing an annual exchange of air cadets between participating organizations.

F/SGT Lewis Phillips

I arrived at Brunel University on 19th July 2010 to be welcomed by the UK conducting cadets and was instructed on where I would be staying until my long flight in the morning. On finding my room for the night I quickly established the 20 other cadets from across the country that would be joining me on the two and a half week adventure across the Atlantic. The next morning we were up early and headed to Heathrow airport to start our 8-hour flight that ended at Ottawa Airport in Ontario Canada where we were quickly shipped to a local university.

Over the course of that sunny Tuesday afternoon various cadets from across the world joined us at the university where after the nervousness of the new situation had subsided we very soon began to realise that we all had a lot in common due to our shared interest in aviation and the cadet forces. I didn't realise it at the time but it was sharing the experience with such a diverse group of people that made it a trip that I will never forget.

Canadian changing of the guard at their parliament buildings.

The first notable trip that we all went on was to the Canadian parliament buildings which were very impressive and gave a fantastic insight into how the country is run after overcoming language barriers due to being a bi-lingual country. We also got a chance to see the Canadian changing of the guard, not quite as good as ours but you cant beat the best of the British!

Niagara falls viewed from the maid in the mist journey.

The first half of our trip was spent in the English speaking side of Canada, in the Ontario Province where the landscape was extremely picturesque which was capped off with a visit to the awe inspiring Niagara falls. Here we had the once in a lifetime opportunity to go on the maid in the mist journey, which was a boat tour out on the water beneath the falls, truly the best place to view them from. No words however descriptive will give you even a fraction of the actual experience and as one of the worlds natural wonders it is a true must see. Our last stop in Ontario was to Toronto which offered great juxtaposition between one of the biggest natural occurrences to one of the biggest man made structures, the CN tower as it is one of the tallest freestanding buildings in the world, or just somewhere where you can get lunch.

The second half of the trip saw us venture into the French speaking part of Canada into Quebec Province, not just a phonetic alphabet reference but also a truly beautiful part of the world with a lot of culture and history for such a young country. An experience that sticks out in my mind from Quebec due to my passion for aviation was a special flight organized specifically for us in Canadian Air Force Griffin helicopters. We flew low level over the Canadian terrain at fair speed, making tactical maneuvers, something that kept a smile on my face even after landing back in rainy Britain.

Sitting on the side of a Canadian Air Force Griffin helicopter.

One of our final ventures was to a military aviation museum that had excellent displays and a very informative war veteran tour guide. It also was home to one of the two remaining flying Lancaster Bombers that are such a huge part in flying history due to the Second World War. The biggest reward that I took from going to the museum wasn't just to see Canada's history but viewing our relationship with Canada from an entirely new perspective and at that point it most felt like a home away from home, with such similarities to Britain with shared history but with stark contrast also.

Canadian Maple leaf with the portraits of all service men and women who have died in Afghanistan.

The trip ended with a formal dinner at a Canadian Air Force base in Montreal where we had a chance to dress up in our dinner jackets over amazing food and being prematurely nostalgic of the amazing activities we had taken part in over the two weeks. The cadets swapped contact details reluctantly as we all knew that the end was nigh and the great friends we met from every corner of the earth were to become memories.

The view from the CN tower, one of the world's tallest free standing buildings.

I owe the entirety of the amazing experiences that I encountered to the Air Training Corps. Without the organisation it would have not been possible for me and many other cadets to get the opportunity of a lifetime to visit amazing places in the world and meet amazing new people to share the experience with. I also have the Air Training Corps to thank for giving me the opportunity to act as an ambassador for the ATC and Britain to the rest of the world. The memories from this trip will stay with me always and to any new or future cadet I cannot recommend the International Air Cadet Exchange enough.

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