Silver Wings for Mirfield Cadets

08 Jan 2018

Two cadets from 868 (Mirfield) Squadron have reached new heights with a solo take off from RAF Topcliffe.

Corporal Thomas Fedzin and Gabriele Kvedweaite achieved their Silver Gliding Wings for completing their first solo flight in a Grob 109 Vigilant motor glider.

An extra special achievement as the two of them  are only 16 years old – so they have taken charge of an aircraft before they can legally drive a car on the road!

Both cadets started their training by attending 645 Volunteer Gliding Squadron at RAF Topcliffe for a Bronze level gliding course, after which they were advised to apply for the next level, which trains cadets to a standard to fly solo.

Events moved rapidly for them and Thomas started his Silver Wings course only three weeks later, and achieved his solo flight after just four weekends of training. 

Gabby started her Silver Wings course the week after Thomas, and achieved her solo flight a few weeks later.

Flight Lieutenant Alan Crowley, the Chief Flying Instructor at 645 VGS commented: "Gabby has easily mastered the skills required to fly the Vigilant on her own.

“We were blessed with calm, crisp conditions here at RAF Topcliffe this morning, it made perfect sense for me to vacate the aircraft and let her go it alone.

“A huge well done to Gabby, she was a pleasure to fly with and can wear her Silver Wings with pride"

Mirfield’s squadron commander, Flight Lieutenant Peter Doubell, also commented: “What a wonderful opportunity and great success for these two cadets!

“For a variety of reasons, gliding for air cadets has been difficult in recent years, but we can certainly now see the activity coming back into fruition, and the advantages of a new progressive training structure.

“Thomas and Gabby have been the first of our cadets to benefit, but we hope their success will also be enjoyed by many others as the new programme continues to roll out.”

Image 1: Corporal Fedzin on the wing of the aircraft he flew, together with Sergeant Niall Brotheridge of 58 (Harrogate) Squadron

Image 2: Gabriele Kvederaite with her instructor Flight Lieutenant Alan Crowley