Rotarians give Ben wings...


Welling Air Cadets were celebrating this week as Cadet Drum Major Benjamin (Ben) White [18, Iris Crescent, Bexleyheath] completed his 'first flight' in an aircraft. Ben, who has disabilities is precluded from undertaking the normal Air Experience Flying (AEF) due to his complex additional needs. Undeterred 358 Welling Squadron Air Training Corps approached Aerobility – flying for the disabled, to do an introduction flight at their base in Blackbush nr Camberley. The Rotary Club of Bexley covered the associated costs. 


Rotarian Malcolm Fox presented Ben with the monies at the squadron's annual inspection in November, and the family has waited for the best weather so Ben could thoroughly enjoy the flight. He described Rotary Internationals involvement thus 'Bexley Rotarian’s are happy and proud to provide Ben' with the fiscal means to undertake this flight. It is a fantastic opportunity which we hope he will enjoy and remember'


Taking advantage of the recent good weather Ben and his instructor James Brown, accompanied by  Ben's father the Rev. Andrew White (who is chaplain to the squadron) took to the skies in a Piper 46, 4 seat aircraft for an hour long flight over Sandhurst and the local area.


The P46 is a very stable aircraft and once airborne and clear of the aerodrome, instructor James Brown was able to say 'Ben, you have control...' and Ben was able to fly the aircraft himself, with James only resuming control to finally land the aircraft.  The views from the aircraft were fantastic with over thirty miles of visibility.


On landing, James asked Ben – 'Did you enjoy that?, 'Yes' Ben replied; 'Do you want to do it again?' 'Er – No!' he stated. Whilst he definitely enjoyed the flight Ben prefers his flying to be in really BIG aircraft, with someone else piloting and a holiday at the end of the flight, and you can't argue with that.


Unit leader, [Flight Lieutenant, Flt. Lt.] Kris Cottier [RAFVR(T)] stated “Our heartfelt thanks to Rotary Club of Bexley and to Aerobility for making this event happen”. Welling Air Cadets offers fantastic opportunities like this for young adults aged 13 onwards. Not only is the Air Cadets good fun but it's all good stuff on a CV. Employers and universities find that Air Cadets have considerable transferable life skills e.g. leadership, commitment, self discipline, diligence and dedication. In short, cadets are the kind of people they want in their organisation. There is nothing to lose, and a world of adventure to gain. Further details, www.358atc.btck.co.uk or via the group leader Kris Cottier, oc.358@aircadets.org