International Air Cadet Exchange (IACE)

IACE 2011 with SGT Patrick

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.

SGT Jack Patrick

Upon arrival at Brunel University I was greeted by the conducting cadets for the inbound exchange to the UK. After dinner we were given a briefing about the next day. During which we were told that the cadets that were travelling to EU countries and to Turkey, had to be at the main entrance at 4 am. At Brunel we had time to get to know the other cadets we were going on the exchange with which was very interesting.

By 4am we all boarded a bus bound for Heathrow Airport. There were three cadets including myself heading for Turkey. By this time I was very excited about going on the exchange and seeing the wonderful sights of Turkey.

When we arrived at Atatürk International Airport in Istanbul we were greeted by representative cadets from the Turkish Aeronautical Association. We were the first group of cadets to arrive so we had to wait for the American Cadets from the Civil Air Patrol before we could go to the hotel. As soon as we stepped outside we realised how different the weather was to the UK as it was 35° and very humid.

The first attraction we visited was the Sultan Ahmed Blue Mosque which is a religious centre and has been since the 17th century. The building itself is a great example of Islamic architecture at its best which I found was very inspirational and striking.

Sultan Ahmed Blue Mosque

The Hagia Sophia. This magnificent building was built by the Byzantine Empire during the 6th century AD. Before the defeat of the Byzantine Empire the Hagia Sophia was an Orthodox church but it became a Mosque after the successful conquest by the Ottoman Empire. The evidence of this victory was obvious on the ceiling as Christian symbols where burned and painted over with Islamic decoration.

We also visited the Yerebatan Cistern which is a vast underground reservoir in Istanbul. Our guide told us that legend has it that Medusa was believed to have lived in the waters of the Cistern. Some of us found this unsettling as most of the Cistern was very dark.

We toured the Ancient City of Ephesus while staying down the coast in selcuk. Ephesus was definitely the feature on the programme that I had been most looking forward to because of its rich history and beautiful structures. When we were going through Ephesus the heat sometimes made it difficult as there was very little breeze and it was 44°C! Our guide informed us that most of the buildings and ruins have been dated back to the first century AD which I think is amazing as they were still standing. I think that Ephesus was an amazing place to visit and I found it very interesting to learn about its past and I would definitely return there in the future.

While in Izmir, we were treated to a flight in an Antonov AN-2 biplane. This experience was very exciting as the plane itself was pretty basic and old. For the majority of the flight we did a tour of the area which was amazing as it was clear weather. The rest of the evening was spent in our rooms unpacking our bags and sharing our thoughts as to how we thought the exchange was going so far.

The last stop of the day was at the mausoleum of Mustafa Kemal Atatürk in central Ankara. This was where the founder of the Turkish republic was laid to rest after his death in 1938. The structure itself was very impressive and awe inspiring. The road of lions that lead down towards the mausoleum was named so because of the twelve pairs of lions that lined the road on both sides. When we had a chance to look around the Hall of Honour- which was the location of Atatürk's tomb- we were amazed at the sheer scale of the building and the work that went into designing and constructing it.

In all I think that the exchange trip to Turkey went extremely well and I enjoyed very much. I think it was the best activity that I have done whilst in the Air Cadets as I never thought that when I joined in 2007 that I would ever have the chance to represent the UK and meet other cadets from different countries and backgrounds in this way. I know that the memories that I have from the exchange will stay with me for a very long time. I would definitely recommend IACE to any cadet in the future as it was a life changing experience for me and I'm sure that any other cadet who has been on the exchange would agree with me on that!

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