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Glider Pilot Experience!

CDT SGT Coe

SGT Coe doing his best Top Gun pose!

Since I was little, I have always been fascinated by aviation. Air Cadets had already given me some amazing experiences flying and gliding, but from Winter last year, I had an even greater one that will stay with me for a long time yet!

When I was 15 and a half, I submitted my forms for my gliding scholarship and submitted it to staff in charge of Hampshire and IOW cadets. During a college trip I was on, in November 2012, I received a phone call from one of these staff members asking if I was available to start my gliding scholarship. Of course I was!

I discovered when I went home, that not only did I have an opportunity of a lifetime, but I was lucky enough to be 1 of 4 cadets that year, from Hampshire and IOW, to complete my scholarship in a Grob Vigilant motor glider. I was ecstatic, as I have always wanted to pursue a career in aviation, so by having some powered flying experience as well as gliding experience would be a big boost to my hours and knowledge. After just over 7 hours of flying, I completed my gliding scholarship by going solo on the 3rd of March 2013. It was amazing! I loved it so much, and I was so enthusiastic, I didn't realise I would be able to gain even more amazing opportunities...

After gaining my silver wings, I was invited to apply to join 618 Volunteer Gliding Squadron (VGS) as a flying staff cadet. This post would involve me in the squadron more and offer me the chance to complete my Advanced Glider Training (AGT) and learn volunteer to help the squadron at events, weekends and during scholarship courses. After an interview and trial day, I was taken on as a probationary flying staff cadet at 618. I attended a training weekend where I completed my AGT and gained my gold wings. After 3 months of service, I was reviewed (the normal process), and interviewed again. 618 had offered the opportunity for me to join officially as part of the squadron and train to be an instructor as well as volunteer for all events as before! It was a no brainer for me! I accepted the opportunity with great pride. Not only would this give me an experience of a lifetime, but I would be one of only a few cadets in the county and probably even country that would be able to do their squadron's proud and show to other cadets that anything is possible!

During my time since being officially appointed, I have taken part in several events including a detachment to Manston, Kent. I had an amazing time and flew there, back and during the trip there. How many teenagers can say they have seen London, Dover and other fantastic sites from 2000ft??

I have nearly completed my award to become a Grade 2 Pilot and I can't even yet drive a car!! On completion, will start training to become a Grade 1 instructor which will entitle me to fly cadets and teach them to fly and glide. I am so thankful to everyone at my squadron, county staff and all those at 618 who have given me some amazing chances so far. I hope this will continue into the future and who knows... maybe I'll be flying someone like you soon??

Cadet Sergeant George Coe

SGT Coe at the controls of a Grob Vigilant motor glider

Find out more about 618 Volunteer Gliding Squadron (VGS).

Find out more about gliding in the Air Cadets.

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