Getting airborne for members of the RAF Flying Clubs’ Association (RAFFCA) is set to get a lot easier thanks to its latest acquisition.
Two members of the RAFFCA, Wg Cdr Justin Helliwell and Flt Lt Chris Hives flew out to the Tecnam factory in Capua, Italy this week to take delivery of the aircraft.
The RAFCT grant of £144,500 represents the largest amount ever given for a single item by the charity.
The aircraft will be used to enhance the delivery of the hugely popular Junior Ranks Pilot Scholarship Scheme, launched last year by the RAFFCA and sponsored by the Trust.
Initially based at RAF Scampton Flying Club, the aircraft will relocate to RAF Waddington once runway repair works are complete.
Wg Cdr Helliwell, said: “We’re grateful to the Charitable Trust’s Trustees for the purchase of a superb Tecnam aircraft, and the acceptance of the aircraft marks a milestone in our ability to reward significantly more Air Force personnel.
“We are very proud to be part of the program sponsored by the Trust to enable junior ranks, who are on a day to day basis dedicated to supporting military flying operations, to experience the beauty of flying through civil aviation.”
Retired airline pilot and RAF Waddington Flying Club instructor, Captain Don Paxton, will fly the aircraft along the Italian coastline from Capua to the island of Elba and onto Cannes, France. He will then travel north along the Rhone Valley to Le Touquet, before embarking on the final leg to the UK.
RAFCT Chairman Air Marshal Sir Kevin Leeson, said: “We are very excited to be providing this aircraft to the RAF Flying Clubs Association. Under the ‘support’ endeavour of our mission, we seek to provide interesting opportunities for RAF personnel in the respite time they have from their busy operational lives.
“Delivery of this new state-of-the-art training aircraft, with much lower running costs, will allow the Junior Ranks Pilot Scholarship Scheme to be delivered even more cost effectively so that, ultimately, even more junior ranks can benefit.
“We also hope that this modern acquisition to RAFFCA will encourage more personnel to take the opportunity to learn to fly that the association provides.”
A formal handover to the RAFFCA will take place at RAF Halton on Saturday, May 21, after which the first group of JRPSS scholars will begin their training in the new aircraft.