Solihull School RAF section cadets meet the Red Arrows

Posted on March 13, 2018

Cadets And Red Arrows

​In February, nine lucky cadets from Solihull School CCF, made a trip to RAF Scampton where they spent the day with members of the Red Arrows.

The Royal Air Force Aerobatic Team, the Red Arrows, is one of the world's premier aerobatic display teams. They represent the speed, agility and precision of the Royal Air Force and the team is the public face of the service.

Sqn Ldr Adam Collins is a former pupil of Solihull School and now holds the position of Red 10 - Supervisor of the Red Arrows team. 

Flt Lt Paul Hadley, one of the adult volunteers with the contingent, shares an insight into the day:

Cold, wet and dark, hardly the start such an exciting day should have, but its 7am and I’m juggling a cardboard box full of packed lunches, a folder of permission slips and a satnav.

The minibus has been squeezed into a parking space so small that a Mini would feel claustrophobic. A regular start to any trip that begins earlier than a normal school day.

Thankfully we have a quiet journey and the sun is soon showing through the clouds. As we near RAF Scampton we can see the Red Arrows racing through the sky in their Hawk T1 aircraft, excited faces are soon pressed against the windows of the bus, and talk turns to what the day will hold.

We are met at the guard house and escorted on to the station. At the squadron hanger, a beaming Sqn Ldr Collins is waiting to greet us. Sqn Ldr Adam Collins has recently taken up the post of No 10 with the Red Arrows and as luck would have it, was also an old boy of Solihull School.

After a short tea and comfort break, we are ushered into the briefing room for a short presentation on what we can expect to see and do today. A bell softly rings and the members of “Enid”, who we had seen practising on arrival, come into the room.

Enid, I should explain is the first five aircraft “V” shape you see in any diamond shaped display.

The pilots sit at the front of the room, with the cadets sitting reverently at the back, not making a sound. The ‘debrief’ is called to order and a video playback is launched showing the practise session.

Every detail is analysed and discussed, with each pilot pointing out where mistakes, or position errors were made and where improvements could be achieved. It seems they will only accept perfection and strive to achieve it.

After the debrief, we wrap up as warm as we can and go outside.

The Hawk T1’s accelerate along the runway and up into a very low cloudy sky, re-appear suddenly and split into part of the display. Two more race towards each other and only at the last second turn sideways on and miss each other by what looks like centimetres.

More aircraft join them and the display continues to a cacophony of “oh”s and “wow”s and roaring jet engines.

A visit to the main hanger was next, with the cadets all getting up close to one of the Hawk T1’s, with plenty of photo opportunities. After lunch we visited the Heritage Centre and were treated to a private tour of the history of the men and machines that had made Scampton famous from the war years to today.

A very enjoyable day and one that I would highly recommend to anyone not just RAF Cadets.