In December 2015, the Duchess of Cambridge became royal patron and Honorary Air Commandant of the RAF Air Cadets. She took over this position from the Duke of Edinburgh who served as patron for over 60 years. On Tuesday, February 14, The Duchess visited an RAF base to observe air cadets participating in a half-term skills development camp at RAF Wittering, near Peterborough.
The RAF Air Cadets is made up of the Air Training Corps (ATC) and the Combined Cadet Force (RAF). There are approximately 42,000 youth air cadets around the UK between ages 12-19 along with 15,000 adult volunteers at 1,200 units across the country.
During her visit to the RAF base, the Duchess took the controls of a flight simulator. Her husband, The Duke of Cambridge was a successful RAF air cadet; and now he is wrapping up his time as an air ambulance helicopter pilot.
According to the Express, when The Duchess first took her seat in the simulator, she appeared slightly uncertain when apprehensively taking the controls.
However, under the expert guidance of Flight Lieutenant Michael Salter, she quickly turned into the motions to pilot the mock motor glider.
Flt Lt Salter said: “She was extremely good – she was a natural. She was very gentle on the controls, very often people are too rough. If you feel it, it’s extremely sensitive.
“She said she hasn’t flown before and wanted to understand what the feeling was like in the air.”
Earlier in her visit, The Duchess was guided through the motions of piloting the grob tutor, a light aircraft which cadets use each year to gain air experience. Cadet Sergeant Jordan Bertolaso, a qualified aerospace instructor helped her through this process. For years, many air cadets, including The Duke of Cambridge used this light aircraft.
RAF Wittering Station Commander, Group Captain Richard Pratley, said: “It has been an honour to welcome Her Royal Highness, the Duchess of Cambridge to RAF Wittering to see some of the facilities we offer to cadets to help inspire the next generation.”