News story

Air cadets' gliding school opens

The RAF air cadets' national gliding school opens in Nottinghamshire today, Friday 31 January.

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An air cadet is given a final briefing on flying the Viking glider (library image) [Picture: Squadron Leader Philip Jones, Crown copyright]

An air cadet is given a final briefing on flying the Viking glider (library image)

The new school, which houses the world’s largest fleet of gliders, will be headed up by a reservist for the first time.

The No 2 Flying Training School (FTS) becomes a new centre of excellence in which young people can win their wings; often before they pass their driving test.

With its headquarters at RAF Syerston in Nottinghamshire, No 2 FTS will oversee the gliding training programme for up to 45,000 air cadets aged between 13 and 19.

The Chief of the Air Staff, Air Chief Marshal Sir Andrew Pulford, said:

No 2 FTS has a long and distinguished unit history; I am delighted that it has become the new home of cadet gliding.

The reformation of No 2 FTS is not just another milestone for Royal Air Force air cadet gliding, it is also one for our reserve organisation, with John Middleton becoming the first full-time reserve service officer at the rank of group captain in a flying command appointment.

Group Captain John Cunningham hands over to Group Captain John Middleton
Group Captain John Cunningham of No 3 Flying Training School hands over responsibility for RAF air cadet gliding to Group Captain John Middleton [Picture: Paul Saxby, SERCO Media Services]

Group Captain John Middleton said:

I feel honoured to have the opportunity to take air cadet gliding forward into a new era, and thank all at No 3 Flying Training School for taking excellent care of air cadet gliding in recent years.

My long-term aim is to mature RAF Syerston into the air cadet centre for aviation excellence, whilst maintaining the high safety standards of air cadet gliding.

Group Captain Middleton is the first RAF full-time reserve service officer to be authorised as a ‘delivery duty holder’; the term attached to responsibility for flying. He is no stranger to the Air Cadet Organisation, having recently commanded the north region of the Air Training Corps.

The establishment of a dedicated FTS for gliding provides a new focus on the safe and effective delivery of cadet gliding.

Published 31 January 2014