The RAF Charitable Trust (RAFCT) officially handed the keys to a brand new state-of-the-art training aircraft to the RAF Flying Clubs Association (RAFFCA) at RAF Halton on Saturday, May 21.
The aircraft, a Tecnam P2008JC, was purchased thanks to a grant of £144,500 from the RAFCT, the largest amount ever given for a single item by the charity, and collected from the Tecnam factory in Italy by RAFFCA representatives.
RAFCT Chairman, Air Marshal Sir Kevin Leeson met the first group of Trust sponsored Junior Ranks Pilot Scholarship Scheme (JRPSS) Scholars who will train in the new aircraft, before taking off and experiencing the benefits of the new aircraft for himself.
Sir Kevin Leeson formally handed over the keys to the aircraft to RAFFCA President Sir Chris Harper.
Sir Kevin Leeson said: “The JRPSS has proven to be an effective way to achieve the Trust’s desire to deliver life skills and airmindedness to young RAF personnel and we are delighted by how well the RAFFCA has responded to the challenge of running the scheme.
“We are pleased to have been able to help when the idea of modernising the training aircraft to more efficient and better quality training was raised and we look forward to following this year’s scholars as they learn to fly.
Sir Kevin Leeson and Trustee Air Commodore Andy Sudlow presented the 2016 JRPSS Scholars with their Entitlement Certificates, before the future pilots inspected the aircraft in which many of them will learn to fly.
The aircraft will initially be based at RAF Waddington before deploying to other JRPSS training locations to enable all scholars to enjoy the benefits of the new aircraft.
Images courtesy of Cpl Steve Buckley.