Congratulations to Cadet Flight Sergeant Stanely-Jones who passed the Air Cadet Pilot Scheme last week! FS Stanley-Jones spent two weeks learning to fly, before finishing with a solo flight in the skies above Dundee.
Since joining 1015 (Horsham) Squadron in 2014, FS Stanley-Jones has had the ambition to learn to fly with the Air Cadets. FS Stanley-Jones is the squadron’s head flight simulator instructor and the Flying and Gliding NCO He has always had a huge interest in aviation, and in 2017 he was awarded a flying scholarship along with Cpl Clemens thanks to a generous donation to the squadron.
The two-week course at Tayside Aviation, Dundee, is known for being an intense introduction to light aircraft flying, focusing on both the theory needed to qualify as a pilot and flying handling skills, culminating in a solo circuit at the end of the week. The scheme follows the EASA Private Pilot’s License syllabus and teaches around one hundred and fifty of the RAFAC’s top cadets each year.
The first week is solely based on flying aptitude and studying for the pre-solo exam. The week started with an introduction to Tayside Aviation and the Air Cadet Pilot Scheme followed by an aircraft familiarisation. After that, FS Stanley-Jones started to be taught how to fly through circuits – a standard flying route near to and around the airfield.
Once the instructor was satisfied with both FS Stanley-Jones’ flying skills during general flying, emergency procedures and after passing the pre-solo exam, the second week focused on circuit practice. During this phase of the course, the aim was to demonstrate high-standard circuit procedures, good radio communications with Air Traffic Control, and handling of emergency situations.
FS Stanley-Jones said of the course, “The two weeks can only be described as intense but enjoyable. The feeling of being in command of a £120,000 aircraft and enjoying the freedom of the skies is a sensation that cannot be described.”
On the eighth day of flying, FS Stanley-Jones was judged to be ready to go solo – where the instructor steps out and FS Stanley-Jones flies the aircraft on his own. After his successful takeoff, he spent a few minutes flying his solo circuit before landing, completing the Air Cadet Pilot Scheme as along with one of his biggest life ambitions.
FS Stanley-Jones was incredibly fortunate to have this experience and is very grateful to the squadron, the Air Cadets and the generous donation that made this scholarship possible. FS Stanley-Jones was the first of a number of 1015 cadets to complete a flying scholarship; Sgt Pratt and Cpl Clemens are going to Tayside Aviation this summer, and CWO Briggs is completing the Air Cadet AEF scholarship at MOD Boscombe Down later this year.
Finally, for anyone that would love to have an experience such as the Air Cadet Pilot Scheme, FS Stanley-Jones has some advice. “To be a pilot you need to be an optimist, have the drive, motivation, and passion for flying. If you would like an opportunity like this, there is nothing pulling you back – flying has no boundaries.”