YOUNG people with high aspirations can take to the skies by joining the Sutton Air Training Corps.
The military youth group, which is attached to the Royal Air Force, is inviting boys and girls aged 13-20-years-old to join their squadron and take part in activities which range from flying and gliding, marching in competitions and heading overseas to specially organised camps.
There is also the chance to take up athletics, cross country air rifle shooting, hockey, football and swimming.
Commanding Officer for the 1300 Sutton squadron, Flight Lieutenant Roxanne Woodburn, said there were a wealth of opportunities on offer for young people.
“As well as a very varied programme of activities, the cadets learn about self confidence and self discipline, and it gives them a direction to pursue,”she said.
As could be expected, the biggest attraction for many youngsters is the opportunity to learn how to fly.
Recently, cadets got the chance to take to the throttle of a Grob 115 Tutor airplane during a visit to RAF Cranwell in Sleaford, Lincolnshire.
Adult Warrant Officer Amanda Coleman took four young pilots in the making - flight sgt Matthew Bonser, Sgt Matthew Parry, and cadets Oliver Dawson and Ross Challands - to the RAF base for the experience of a liftime. The cadets got 30 minutes flying time each.
Said Flight Lieutenant Woodburn: “Even from their very first training session, they get the opportunity to take the controls by themselves.
“I remember the first time I took the controls, I felt excited and scared. But after they have landed and had the chance to think about what they have just done, they are smiling from ear to ear.”
The Air Training Corps was formed in 1941 from a previous organisation called the Air Defence Cadet Corps.
Their headquarters is based on Lammas Road, next to the Lammas Leisure Centre, having relocated from the original site in Reform Street.
Currently, there are around 30 cadets. New recruits get to learn skills like Orienteering, first aid and leadership.
The squadron offers BTEC in aviation - equivalent to four GCSEs. There are also opportunities for scholarships in flying and gliding.
Trips abroad include visits to RAF bases in Gibraltar and Germany, where the cadets can carry out work experience and see first hand how the various sections operate. Camps also take place in the UK.
Said Flight Lieutenant Woodburn: “We are able to offer all of this because of the dedication of our officers. If the cadets are happy, the officers are happy.”
There is an RAF style ranking system which means there is a chance to work up your way up from corporal to cadet warrant officer.
Cadets may chose to stay on with the squadron after they hit 20 in the role of a commissioned or non-commissioned officer.
For more information ring AWO Coleman on Monday or Wednesday evening on Mansfield 442810 Or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Parade night are held on Monday and Wednesday from 7pm.