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.