|No. 10 Air Experience Flight RAF|
Grob Tutor aircraft of 10 Air Experience Flight
|Branch||Air Cadet Organisation|
|Allegiance||Royal Air Force|
|Active||8 September 1958 - present|
|Commanders||Sqn Ldr M K Lewis|
10 Air Experience Flight (AEF) is one of twelve Air Experience Flights run by the Air Cadet Organisation of the Royal Air Force. It was formed in the 1950s, along with the other AEFs, to teaching basic flying to members of the Air Training Corps (ATC), Combined Cadet Force (CCF) (Royal Air Force) Section (although it has been known for cadets from other sections of the CCF to fly with the AEFs if space allows) and occasionally to allow the Girls Venture Corps Air Cadets and the Air Scouts. It mainly flies Cadets from the local wings; Cumbria and North Lancashire Wing (North Lancashire half only as the Cumbrian half use 11 AEF at RAF Leeming, due to the distance from RAF Woodvale), East Cheshire and South Manchester Wing, Merseyside Wingand No. 2 Welsh Wing, East Lancashire Wing CCF contingents and Air Scouts. It will also fly cadets on annual camp at RAF Valley, when it will sometimes send an aircraft to RAF Mona for a day to fly the cadets on camp there. This increases the chance of flying all the cadets due to the long journey from RAF Valley to RAF Woodvale by road. Air cadets and CCF sections from Northern Ireland also fly at Woolvale.
10 AEF was raised on the 8th of September 1958 at Royal Air Force Woodvale, which is located near Southport. 10 AEF remains at RAF Woodvale and is one of the few AEFs that has not been moved to another location or temporarily disbanded and later reformed. In 1996 10 AEF was placed under the command of Manchester and Salford Universities Air Squadron (UAS), one of the two UAS' to operate out of Woodvale, the other being Liverpool University Air Squadron.
10 AEF fly the Grob Tutor Aircraft, which they gained in 2001, prior to that they flew the Scottish Aviation Bulldog from 1996 and the de Havilland Canada DHC-1 Chipmunk from 1958 - 1996. In both cases where the Air Experience Flights have updated their Aircraft, 10 AEF has been the last to receive the new aircraft. 10 AEF, like all AEFs no longer own their own aircraft but use aircraft from the two UAS' at RAF Woodvale.
AEF has a team of pilots who fly the cadets, they must have 200 hours recorded as a pilot within the RAF, Fleet Air Arm or Army Air Corps, most are drawn from the RAF. Pilots apply to join an AEF through Headquarters Air Cadets and undergo security and Criminal Records Bureau checks (which all ACO adult staff have every 4 years). If accepted, pilots serve a four year tour and have to be renewed if they wish to carry on for further tours. A pilot may continue with an AEF until 67, although after 65 the renewals may be requested on an annual basis. On appointment pilots will be commissioned (if not regular pilots) as Flying Officers in the RAF Reserves resulting in several senior and air officers holding the rank of Flying Officer for work with AEFs and a much higher rank for other duties. 10 AEF also has several Flight Lieutenants, one of whom, is appointed as the Commanding Officer (CO), in the past the AEF's flight commander would hold the rank of Squadron Leader.
10 AEF is assisted by a team of Survival Equipment Fitters (occasionally referred to as Squippers), from VT Aerospace, all have previous regular military service in the area. Their responsibilities are to service the aircraft, issue the cadets their flying equipment and to check the cadets are secured into the aircraft.
Occasionally 10 AEF receives holding officers from the RAF waiting for their trade course to start. For their tenure at the AEF they generally are placed on the Flight Staff Team or if an officer undergoing pilot training has already completed an amount of their pilot training they will sometimes fly cadets.
In addition to Pilots and Survival Equipment Fitters, there are also a team of Flight Staff Cadets (FSCs) and Adult Flight Staff, who are commanded by the Officer in Charge Flight Staff (OICFS), a RAFVR(T) officer who answers to the CO 10 AEF. The OCFS will organise the rota for the duty days, flight staff are expected to attend, they will also be responsible for the selecting of new flight staff and making sure former flight staff return their kit.
Potential flight staff usually have to be of at least Cadet Corporal rank and Staff Cadet Classification (for ATC cadets) and Cadet Junior Corporal and Proficiency 3 Classification (For CCF RAF Cadets), some exceptions to this rule have been made in the past, but are rare. They are normally drawn from the local ATC squadrons or CCF units within a reasonable traveling distance. Applications are to be made in writing and potential Flight Staff are interviewed by the OC Flight Staff or occasionally the OC 10 AEF, if appointed they will serve a probationary period of about three months.
After a probationary period flight staff are issued a set of flying kit, comprising flight jacket/cold weather jacket (olive green), white knee boards and clear plastic covers (for recording details on in the aircraft or on the taxiway), flying gloves (white), flying suit, aircrew socks and aircrew roll neck top and no1 RAF airmans/ airwomens cap. Boots (not necessarily flying boots, but these are preferred) and unit/ name badges are orn by both Pilots and Flight Staff. The 10 AEF unit badge is worn on the upper right arm and the name tape is worn on the left hand side of the chest.
Members of the Flight Staff Team attend the days when 10 AEF are flying cadets and will usually on the weekends where a group of 50 cadets from an ATC Wing will fly per day. Non-AC flights are usually smaller and generally serve CCF units or ATC Sqnadrons organised special slots, these run from Tuesday to Friday and are less likely to be assisted by flight staff who are usually either in education or work. Their responsibilities are to conduct the briefing before any cadets fly, assist with the running of the flight, to maintain the flying log, make sure the cadets get to the aircraft safely and look after the safety and maintain the discipline of the visiting cadets and staff whilst on the ground.
10 Air Experience Flight also organises several social events during the year for its staff. They are generally held in the Officers Mess at RAF Woodvale. Other occasions when the AEF team organise social events are for the departure of long standing staff members, predominantly pilots. The dining in events are formal evening events, whereas leaving parties are sometimes informal and often start in the AEF itself just after the flying concludes for the day.
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