Interesting Links

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Air Cadets Website

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Photo Gallery

Here are a few shots taken of the fleet, staff and students:

ZE626 The Lizard The launch
Motor Transport ZE626 landing Moonshot?
Solo check! ZE521 Sunset
RNAS Culdrose 1 Aug 07 Cdt Sgt Rich Williamson with his first GIC trainee 20 Sep 08 Cdt Sgt Sam Cartwright with his first GIC trainee 19 Oct 08
Cdt Cpl Taylor Murdoch with Flt Lt Chris Buscombe Apr 09 Cdt Sam Morris with MAEOp Mick Headleand Apr 09 Cdt Dale Robinson Apr 09
Cdt Sgt Linda McLean with Flt Lt Tony Disbrey Apr 09 Cdt Sgt Aaron Clitherow with CGI M Wardley Apr 09 Cdt Cpl James Hawkins Jul 09

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Whether this is to be your first, or one of many visits, we will welcome you to 626 Volunteer Gliding Squadron (VGS). We hope that you and most especially your cadets will enjoy your day here at Predannack Airfield.

Whilst the primary objective of the day is the cadets’ education and enjoyment, SAFETY is of the utmost importance at 626 VGS.

There are many stringent rules and regulations that we must (and do) abide by, but we strive to maintain a relaxed and friendly atmosphere in which to operate.  We do this by encouraging an active involvement from both visiting staff and cadets.  However the airfield can be a confusing and sometimes dangerous place for those who are not familiar with our type of operation, and therefore a thorough briefing will be given.

Please read the following information carefully as this will help you understand your role in the proposed activities for the day.



Shortly after you arrive the Duty Instructor (DI) should introduce himself, and give you a copy of these briefing notes.  The DI is a senior instructor who is totally responsible for the co-ordination and safety of the day’s operations and is therefore your point of contact for any questions or any problems you may have.  The DI’s job is often referred to as “running the line”.

The workload and responsibilities of the DI are very high, and too numerous to mention here, your forbearance and co-operation with the DI is therefore greatly appreciated.

Please note that irrespective of the Duty Instructor’s rank, his authority outranks all other staff (visiting or otherwise) for the day’s operation.

However in the unlikely event that you feel that the DI has not dealt with your particular problem to your satisfaction, then you may raise the issue with me.  I am hopeful that you will not find this course of action necessary and that any dispute can be settled in a professional and amicable fashion with the DI.



You should bring with you a completed Gliding Programme Sheet (Annex D to ACP 20A ACTI No. 32).  Please hand the completed form to the DI.  It is important that you give as much information as possible about each cadet’s flying experience.  This will help us to prioritise each cadet’s flying in the event of the weather restricting our operations.

Additionally, as you are more aware of each of your cadet’s specific needs, we also welcome any information that might help us to give the maximum benefit from every flight.  For example, you may have a cadet who is nervous or one who has a minor disability and you may have a particularly deserving cadet.  If notified of any particular needs we can endeavour, staff and weather permitting, to accommodate these.

Please note that cadets should not fly with a Record of service Book on their person.  All Record of Service Books should be handed to the DI along with the completed gliding programme sheet.



A qualified member of staff will be allocated to conduct a Gliding Induction Course Briefing that will include reference to the use of parachutes.  The briefing will also include other safety precautions and a full explanation about what the cadets will be expected to do out on the airfield.  You are encouraged to attend this briefing as well so that you become familiar with the latest practises and procedures.  This briefing can take place before or after the operations briefing, depending upon staff availability.

The Operations Briefing, conducted by the DI, is a mandatory requirement for all staff of 626 VGS.  It covers the day’s weather forecast, flying tasking, airfield layout, aircraft availability and other notices.  Whilst much of this information may appear of little relevance to yourself, and may not be fully understood by all of the cadets, you are invited to attend and we hope it will help you to feel part of the “team”.  As this briefing is conducted in the cadets’ briefing room the cadets are requested to sit quietly at the back of the room, to make space for 626 VGS staff at the front.


Uniform, peak hats and berets should not be worn on the airfield.

The cadets and yourself will be an integral part of the operation out on the airfield so comfort and practicality are of more importance than smartness.  There is no approved dress code but the following should be borne in mind:


The airfield is wet, muddy and cold.  Old, warm clothes, in layers, are recommended.  A hat and gloves are advisable.  Coveralls should be worn, when available.


The airfield may be dry and the aircraft cockpits may be very hot.  Light cotton clothes and a sunhat are recommended.  Sunscreen is essential if it is going to be a sunny day.  Remember that a breeze may make the day seem cool but the Cornish sun can still burn.

The DI or other member of staff will point out the toilet and changing facilities for both males and females.



Whilst there may be many members of staff from 626 VGS out on the airfield they all have specific duties to ensure the safe and smooth running of the operation and may not be able to monitor your cadets’ behaviour.  Immediate supervision of specific gliding activities and duties will, of course, be given by suitably qualified members of 626 VGS staff, but, as the escorting member of staff, we rely heavily on your good self for the overall discipline and welfare of the cadets in your care.  After all you know them much better than we do!  Please note that any request to leave the airfield launch point area (other than for aircraft retrieving) by either yourself or cadets must receive specific clearance from the DI.

The DI may well get you involved with the co-ordination of operations, perhaps by requesting your assistance as “Aircraft Log Keeper and Signaller” and will give you a separate briefing, if required.

At the discretion of the DI you may take your transport (at your own risk) onto the airfield.  He will tell you where to park.  However, if you do take your transport onto the airfield cadets will have a natural tendency to sit in it!  It is imperative that this is not allowed to happen as we rely on the goodwill and hard work of the cadets to launch and retrieve the gliders.  The harder they work the more chance we all have of doing the maximum flying.



In addition to giving your cadets Gliding Induction Courses the Gliding School has other commitments set by Headquarters Air Cadets, including Staff Continuation Training (SCT), Gliding Scholarship training (GS) and Advanced Gliding Training (AGT).

HQAC set the following priorities for the tasking:

1.     SCT

2.     GS/GIC/AGT

3.     Misc. (Glider familiarisation for accompanying adults etc.)

The reason SCT is the highest is simply because if we haven’t any pilots in “current flying practise” we cannot carry out the other tasks.  Although it would seem that you are a lower priority 626 will always meet it’s commitment, weather permitting, to provide your cadets with the maximum available amount of flying.  If weather conditions permit each cadet will usually be given the option of having fewer longer flights rather than a number of shorter ones.



If you are unfortunate enough to attend 626 on a day when the weather is not suitable for gliding operations you will generally be expected to remain at Predannack until after lunch time when a decision will be made by the DI as to the potential for the commencement of gliding operations in the afternoon.  If gliding is unlikely to take place you will be free to go.

Whilst waiting for the weather to become suitable we will keep the cadets occupied for a while by giving an extended GIC brief, possibly taking in the operation of the winch and other equipment.  After this the cadets should remain in the briefing room where there is a television and some board games, to help keep them occupied.

As the escorting member of staff, other than keeping an eye on their behaviour, you need not remain in the cadets’ room but feel free to join the VGS staff in the Instructors’ crew room.  You may find that people are engaged on domestic issues but you are welcome to help yourself to hot or cold drinks, if you wish.  We do not make a charge.

Please note that for obvious reasons there are stringent meteorological parameters laid down within which we are permitted to operate.  Whilst the weather to a “layman” may appear perfectly suitable, this may not be the case.  Please be reassured that the DI, who has access to the Meteorological Office at RNAS Culdrose, will be monitoring the weather and will authorise gliding operations if at all possible.



Regulations dictate that each pilot has to stop for a one hour lunch break if the day’s operation will exceed 9 hours.  The time at which we stop depends upon the weather and task commitments.  In exceptional circumstances lunch may be taken on a shift basis with a reduced operation during that period.

Your cadets should have been briefed to bring a packed lunch.  The DI will notify you in sufficient time to allow the cadets to collect their packed lunches, if they haven’t eaten them already!  You will normally remain on the airfield for lunch although it may be possible for the cadets to be taken back to the briefing room for a break.

A gas ring, kettle and fresh water is provided in the launch control caravan.  A limited supply of aircrew energy rations will normally be available to all staff and cadets at the launch point during the day.  These will be in the form of hot and cold drinks and biscuits or crisps and are intended as an addition to, not alternative to, the normal requirement for meals.



We will try our best to complete your cadets’ Gliding Induction Courses by a specified time if this is requested when you arrive, weather and overall tasking permitting.  If for any reason this is not the case we will continue to operate (weather and light permitting) until it is completed.  If however you must depart at your specified time the cadets who have not flown, or who have not had their full allocation, will not get another chance until your Unit’s next gliding detail.  You should let your Wing Gliding Liaison Officer/CCF Liaison SNCO the result of your visit using the appropriate form.  If your cadets do not fly your Unit will be given a further allocation when possible.

If your cadets complete their gliding early we would very much appreciate you remaining until your specified time.  This will help out the other cadets who are attending, perhaps for GS or AGT.

Please ensure that before you depart you have collected all the Record of Service Books and that your cadets have collected all their belongings from the airfield caravan and briefing room.  You also need to take the completed Gliding Programme Sheet for your Unit records.

We at 626 are constantly striving to improve our efficiency and our service to our customers.  We welcome any constructive suggestions or inputs, so please mention them to the DI before you depart.


Further Training

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Further Courses

Instructor Under Training (U/T)

A major part of your time will be spent carrying out ground duties safely and efficiently to enable a smooth flying operation.  You will learn to drive on the airfield, if you cannot already do so, and how to carry out Daily Inspections of Land Rovers, the winch and launching cables.  Your role will include carrying out other tasks throughout the day, including retrieving cables and gliders as well as operating the winch.  Flying training for U/T Instructors focuses on increasing accuracy, skill and judgment, with safety at all times being the key consideration.  Training consists of dual consolidation flying with a senior instructor, as well as more solo flying.

ZE626 on finals                                   FSC Rich Williamson                    FSC Sam Cartwright                        ZE521 & ZE562

Grade 2 Pilot (G2)

A number of qualifications must be held before a U/T Instructor can take the test for G2 status.  You must be competent to retrieve gliders and cables, have a certificate of competence for winch driving and hold a RAF FMT 600 driver’s permit.  Having satisfied these conditions as well as the minimum number of dual and solo flights you will be eligible to be tested for G2 status by either the Officer Commanding or Chief Flying Instructor.  Training then continues towards the award of the Grade 1 Pilot qualification.

Grade 1 Pilot (G1)

Your training towards the award of the G1 qualification will build up your experience of different runways and weather conditions.  You will learn to fly from the rear seat for the first time and how to deliver the GIC 1, 2 and 3 exercises.  When you have completed the minimum number of dual and solo flights you will be eligible to be tested for the award of G1 status by either the Officer Commanding or Chief Flying Instructor.  On successful completion of the checks you will be able to carry your first student and start to pass on your knowledge to junior cadets.  Your training will continue towards recommendation for attendance at a C Category Instructor training course at the Air Cadet Central Gliding School.

Flight Staff Cadets Matt Good, Harley Brockhouse & Adam Hoskin.    FSC Ruth Rockley & Midshipman Hannah Best RN (ex FSC)       FSC Adam Hoskin with his 1st GIC trainee May 07

C Category Instructor (C Cat)

As a C Cat you will teach GS students on all ground school and flying exercises up to recommendation for the checks that a student must undertake with a senior Instructor just prior to their first solo.

CGI Sellars, as a G1 with her 1st GIC trainee & as a C category CGI with her first GS trainee in Sep 06



When Garry Vitta joined us as a trainee Civilian Gliding Instructor, aged about 40, he had no flying or gliding experience having served as a Royal Marine in the Falklands, Cyprus and Northern Ireland.  He moved to Cornwall as a police officer and was persuaded by a colleague to take up gliding.  Garry progressed to being a B Category instructor over a period of 6 years and is now qualified to supervise the gliding operation, authorise flights and check trainees prior to their second and subsequent solo flights.  During that time Garry has qualified for his Private Pilot’s Licence and has recently been commissioned as a Pilot Officer in the RAFVR(T).

Some of our ex-cadets have achieved in other ways, for example:


Squadron Leader Martin Keer RAF

Martin, now aged 33,  flew with us as a Cadet, Flight Staff Cadet and Civilian Gliding Instructor between 1990 and 1994.  He achieved the C Instructor Category before joining the Royal Air Force where he trained on the Firefly, Tucano and Hawk prior to flying the Tornado GR1.  Martin flew the Tornado on many exercises around the world, including in the USA, Singapore and Norway.  Whilst with Number 12 (Bomber) Squadron he flew operational missions from Kuwait in support of the southern no-fly zone in Iraq.  Martin became a flying instructor in 2002 and instructed on the Hawk at RAF Valley in Wales.  In 2004 Martin was selected as the Royal Air Force exchange officer to serve with the Royal Australian Air Force Central Flying School.  He has over 2500 hours flying experience and has flown (during 2006) as Roulette Two with the Royal Australian Air Force Display Team.

Martin Keer & Roulettes photos © Commonwealth of Australia see

Martin has now returned to the UK and is an instructor with XV Squadron at RAF Lossiemouth.  He brought a Tornado to Families Day at RAF St Mawgan on 30 Aug 07.

Sqn Ldr M Keer RAF                         Take-off 1                                 Take-off 2                                 250 feet, 500 knots


James, now aged 32, flew with us as a Cadet, Flight Staff Cadet and Civilian Gliding Instructor between 1991 and 2001.  He achieved the C Instructor Category before work commitments forced him to leave the organization.

James completed an ATPL course at Bournemouth before joining Channel Express in November 1998.  He flew the Fokker F27 for a year and a half then transferred to the Lockheed Electra for a further year and a half.  In December 2001 James moved to the Boeing 737 as first officer/co-pilot.  Channel Express changed its name in 2004 to with the changing emphasis from cargo and charter flying to mainly passenger flying, but retaining considerable mail contracts for the Royal Mail. also operates Boeing 757s serving such exotic destinations as the Canary Islands, and from 2008 Cyprus and Crete.  By June 2005 James gained command of the Boeing 737 and now flies an average of 600 hours a year.

James’ career has resulted in him gradually moving further away from his beloved Cornwall – after Bournemouth he moved to Stansted and has ended up in Leeds where the airfield, at 682 feet above sea level, causes him to make many crosswind landings in the somewhat inclement weather encountered during the winter and occasionally in the summer (a bit like “sunny” Cornwall!).  James says that Leeds is a great place to fly as most days are a challenge with it being a relatively short and undulating runway (unlike the Predannack main runway at 6,000’).

James says that one of the most amazing things about flying a commercial jet is letting the aircraft computers autoland the aircraft in fog, in which he can land in as little as 200 metres visibility with a decision height of just 50 feet above the runway!  But he never forgets his early gliding and flying experiences with the Air Cadet Organisation.  These put him in the ideal position to start a career in commercial flying.  So, if military aviation is not for you, with the right motivation and family support perhaps civilian flying is an option?


Well you cant win them all !

Advanced Gliding

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Advanced Gliding Training

Advanced Gliding Training courses provide an opportunity for cadets who have been recommended for further training following the Gliding Scholarship course to attain the AGT Wings. The first stage of the course consists of 25 launches (of which 5 will be solo flights) in a Viking winch launched glider. AGT provides the opportunity to revise the Gliding Scholarship syllabus and to learn more advanced techniques such as landing in a defined area and crosswind launches and landings. At the end of the course the student is awarded gold wings and may be selected for further training towards becoming an instructor.



AGT Wings 

Some students may be invited to undertake the second and third stages of AGT. These courses take place at the Air Cadet Central Gliding School or at a soaring site in Scotland.

Cpl Hannah Best receiving her AGT wings from The Boss in Apr 06

Sgt Ruth Rockley

The Launch

Gliding Scholarship

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Gliding Scholarship

Gliding Scholarship courses are an opportunity for cadets to undergo further training and achieve Gliding Scholarship Wings. A course consists of up to 40 launches in a Viking winch launched glider to achieve GS wings. Cadets showing the necessary aptitude may be invited to progress to ‘solo’ standard, if weather conditions and overall tasking permit, and hopefully achieve the GS Solo Wings.

GS Wings                                                                               GS Solo Wings

If you want to be nominated for a Gliding Scholarship, then feel free to complete the form available from this site (Click Here), or let your Squadron, Detached Flight or CCF Unit staff know. Ideally you should have completed a GIC 1, 2 or 3, but it is not mandatory. You must be 16 years of age when you start the course and you will need a medical form (RAF Form 6424), which is available upon request from your staff. Take this form to your local doctor and ask them to complete it (you must retain the form because you will have to present it to the VGS on commencement of a GS Course).

Once completed the Form is valid for 2 years, as long as nothing medically untoward happens to you.
After you have completed the medical (no examination required – it is completed by reference to your medical notes), and your doctor has signed the form to confirm that you are fit to undergo glider pilot training, you are ready for a course. It is then a matter of a course becoming available.

Courses are available in two formats, either over successive weekends until you have completed the course or a continuous 10 day course (usually at Easter and during August). You must have the commitment to attend a GS course, as it can be difficult to predict the exact time it will take to complete as it depends on your own progress and the weather. Typically in summer a course will take several weekends to complete. Successful completion of the course will entitle you to wear the Blue GS wings. You will have done well to get this far.

The Trainees

Aug 04 Course                    Aug 05 Course                     Apr 06 Course                   Aug 06 Course                   Aug 07 course                    Mar 08 Course

Apr 09 Course

For cadets showing the required aptitude, there may be the opportunity to progress further and possibly reach the solo standard. Should you manage this and successfully complete a solo circuit you will be entitled to wear the Silver GS wings.

Course Content: 40 Launches, extra 20% allowed for further training to solo

In Brief:

bullet You must be 16 years of age
bullet You must have the parent’s consent to fly page signed in your Record of Service book or 3822
bullet You must have RAF Medical Form 6424 completed (if you have a medical condition, you can be assessed for glider pilot training by forwarding the 6424, via your unit, to HQAC for further consideration)
bullet You must have a high level of motivation and be prepared to attend the VGS until your course is complete
bullet You must not have any temporary or permanent medical condition that would make flying unsafe for yourself or your pilot.

For some, if they are invited to become Flight Staff Cadets, there will be further training. These cadets will be trained to a much higher level and again, if successful, cadets will be entitled to wear the Gold wings denoting successful completion of Advanced Glider Training (AGT).

First solo – Cdt Dale Robinson                                    First solo – Sgt Linda McLean

Gliding Scholarship – first solo flight – Cdt Chris Burrows

A well earned rest!                                                                                End of Aug 07 course.


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The Starting point for your gliding experience at 626 Volunteer Gliding Squadron (VGS) will be a flight or series of flights in a Viking winch launched glider. You will begin by attending, with others from your Squadron, Detached Flight or CCF unit, the VGS to be taught the Gliding Induction Course (GIC).

The GIC has been designed to give you a taste for Air Cadet Gliding and consists of 3 different levels of instruction. You will be shown various aspects of aerodynamics that you will have been taught in the classroom before being taught the ”effects of controls” in the air. You will have the opportunity to take control and practice what you have learned. On your first visit you will be taught the GIC 1 and your subsequent visits you will progress to GIC 2 and 3.

After you have completed the course, you will be awarded a GIC certificate.

CWO Hannah Best about to take Flt Lt Kevin Hemsil, her CO at 2174 Sqn, on a GIC flight (1 Sep 07)

Course Content

GIC 1 – 3 Launches or 20 Minutes
GIC 2 - 4 Launches or 25 Minutes
GIC 3 – 5 Launches or 30 Minutes

You will be shown and have the opportunity to practice

bullet How the glider is manoeuvred in the pitching plane (GIC 1)
bullet How to manoeuvre the glider in the rolling plane (GIC 2)
bullet How the rudder affects the glider in the yawing plane (GIC 3)
bullet What happens when the glider stalls (GIC 3)

In Brief…

bullet You must be aged at least 13 years and 3 months
bullet You must have the parent’s consent to fly page signed in your record book or 3822
bullet You must have a high level of motivation
bullet You must not have any temporary or permanent medical condition that would make flying unsafe for yourself or your pilot

Visitors from 316 Sqn Australian Air Force Cadets May 2005                     GIC trainees from 197 Sqn in June 2007


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Squadron Allocations

Forthcoming squadron GIC allocations are listed on the Plymouth & Cornwall Wing ATC gliding liaison pages within the 626 VGS site on Bader Sharepoint. Go to and enter your User Name and Password.

Please visit Bader and make a note of the dates for your unit.  We normally ask you to bring four cadets per allocated day. Should you be unable to fill a slot, please advise the Wing Gliding Liaison Officer, Wing HQ or 626 VGS as soon as possible in order that your allocation may be passed to someone else.

About Us

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A Brief History of 626 Volunteer Gliding Squadron

626 Volunteer Gliding School formed at RNAS St Merryn and later moved to RAF St Eval.

The School was commanded by Flight Lieutenant Derek Tapson, whose son, Bruce, was later also an Instructor at the Air Cadet Central Gliding School, RAF Syerston. Flight Lieutenant Tapson had handed over Command to Flight Lieutenant L S (Pip) Phillips by the time it moved from RAF St Eval to RNAS Culdrose in May 1964.

The runway lighting at Culdrose was replaced during the period from August 1965 to June 1966. As the gliders could not be flown from Culdrose and the only hangar which remained at Predannack had holes in the roof and no doors the gliders were taken by road from Culdrose to Predannack for flying each day.


During this period the Seahawk Gliding Club was formed and commenced flying at Culdrose under Royal Navy auspices. A conjoint operation was attempted but was found to be impossible without contravening certain Air Cadet Gliding Orders. A permanent move to Predannack was negotiated and was completed on 6 October 1968. 

Flight Lieutenant Phillips retired on 2 August 1981 when Flight Lieutenant (now Squadron Leader MBE) Ross Goldsworthy assumed command.


Up to five T21 Sedbergh and T31 Cadet Mk.3 two seat training gliders were operated, along with Prefect and Swallow single seat aircraft, until September 1985 when the Unit was issued with 3 Grob 103 Viking gliders. The Unit currently operates up to 5 Vikings and has, for short periods, used ASW 19 Valiant and Janus C gliders.

                Link to Bessonneau history

A Bessonneau wooden framed, canvas covered hangar was used until 25 January 1990. The hangar had been very reliable when it was being serviced at six monthly intervals by RAF Sealand. The servicing party disbanded in 1988 and the condition of the hangar slowly deteriorated. It eventually collapsed during the third 1989/90 gale of over 100 knots. The runway control caravan was damaged but the two Eagle twin drum winches and the snow props, which had been erected as a precaution, gave some protection to the three Viking gliders. The gliders were too badly damaged for them to be economically repaired by the RAF and they were written off charge. Subsequently the three were used to make two serviceable aircraft which continued in civilian use.


The School was unable to fly in the period from 25 January 1990 to 16 April 1990 while the staff spent time clearing the hangar site. Two gliders were kept in their trailers and rigged on each flying day during the summer of 1990. It was not thought that a viable winter operation would be possible under these conditions and the School moved temporarily to RAF St Mawgan on 24 November 1990.

The School was the first Unit to keep aircraft in the newly built Hardened Aircraft Shelter complex at St Mawgan. The limited space available for launching gliders at St Mawgan brought forward the issue date of the new, six drum, diesel powered, Munster Van Gelder winch. Even with the more powerful winch the only flying possible was a restricted amount of Familiarisation Training and essential staff training.


The School moved back to Predannack and resumed flying with three gliders on 11 July 1991. There was still no hangar and the gliders were rigged and de-rigged each day.

Headquarters Air Cadets rewarded the School’s efforts by the award of the MEL trophy for 1991. A formal presentation was made by Air Commodore R P Skelley who visited the airfield with Mrs Skelley on 17 October 1992.

The School Headquarters building, a cedarwood hut, was condemned on 12 February 1994 when water leaks, brought about by old age, finally made it uninhabitable. The flying for the remainder of that winter was restricted to essential staff training as there was nothing that could be used as a cadet crewroom. Office work was carried out in the runway control caravan until a replacement hangar was completed on 26 May 1994. The office then moved into the back of the hangar until three Presco portable buildings were erected in early 1995, finally enabling the Unit to operate normally after five years of disruption.

The Racal trophy was awarded in April 2000 to mark the School’s sustained improvement in performance. The trophy was presented by Mr Bill Walker, Honorary President of Air Cadet Gliding.

The Sir Arthur Marshall trophy was awarded in April 2001 as the school was the best performing operator of Air Cadet winch launched gliders during the year ended 31 March 2001. A formal presentation was made by Group Captain W M N Cross OBE RAFR, Chief of Staff, Air Cadets at Predannack on 3 November 2001.

The Sir Arthur Marshall trophy was again awarded in April 2002 together with the British Aerospace trophy as 626 VGS was the best overall from a total of 14 winch and 14 motor glider schools during the year ended 31 March 2002. The trophies were presented at RAF College Cranwell by Mr Bill Walker, Honorary President of Air Cadet Gliding.

The Breitling Trophy was presented by Mr Bill Walker at RAF College Cranwell on 13 April 2003 as 626 VGS had provided the greatest contribution to youth development during the two years ended 31 March 2003.


The Sir Arthur Marshall trophy and British Aerospace trophy were again awarded in April 2004 as 626 VGS was the best overall gliding school during the year ended 31 March 2004. The trophies were presented at RAF College Cranwell by Mr Bill Walker, Honorary President of Air Cadet Gliding.

The Breitling Trophy and Sir Arthur Marshall Trophy were presented by Mr Bill Walker at RAF College Cranwell on 24 April 2005 as 626 VGS had again provided the greatest contribution to youth development during the two years ended 31 March 2005 and was the best of the 11 remaining winch launched schools.


On 15 August 2005 a cadet from 2174 (Estover) Squadron ATC was involved in an unfortunate and rare incident that resulted in a Flight Safety Award from RAF Personnel & Training Command.  The citation read: Cadet Best, a 17 year old Air Cadet, was being taught the winch launch on her 11th sortie as a Gliding Scholarship Trainee in a Viking T Mk 1.  The take off checks had been completed normally and the Aircraft Commander and Trainee were satisfied that both canopies were closed and locked.  The Aircraft Commander flew the initial part of the launch with Cadet Best following through on the controls.  During the climb control was passed to Cadet Best who continued the launch with the speed stable at 55 to 60 knots.  At approximately 800 feet she heard an unusual amount of wind noise behind her and, by looking over her shoulder, realised that the rear canopy had opened.  The instructor asked her to lower the nose, release the launch cable and to adopt a normal straight gliding attitude at 50 knots.  She did so quickly and accurately.  The Aircraft Commander had managed to grab the canopy with one hand but could not close it, managing only to hold it in a two thirds open position.  Cadet Best was tasked to alter the attitude to fly at 45 knots, still in level flight.  Again she responded quickly and calmly.  The reduced pressure from the airflow enabled the Aircraft Commander to close the canopy, make a radio call and recover the aircraft with minimal damage and no injury.  This was to a large extent made possible by Cadet Best’s accurate flying and ability to respond to instructions during an unusual and demanding emergency.  Throughout the incident Cadet Best displayed a calm and professional attitude that, for someone with so little flying experience, was exceptional.


Cadet Hannah Best  receiving her RAF Personnel & Training Command Flight Safety Award from Group Captain Remlinger

In September 2005 the Air Force Board approved the change of title to 626 Volunteer Gliding Squadron.

BBC Radio Cornwall’s Nina Davey enjoyed a flight whilst visiting Predannack on 14 January 2007.  Nina recorded a short broadcast about gliding for cadets to encourage adult recruitment.

Nina Davey with MAEOp Mick Headleand and Cadet Bridie Tamblyn

The Sir Arthur Marshall trophy was again awarded on 22 April 2007 as 626 VGS was the best winch launched gliding squadron during the year ended 31 March 2007. The trophy was presented at RAF College Cranwell by Mr Bill Walker, Honorary President of Air Cadet Gliding in the presence of Air Commodore Gordon Moulds MBE RAF, Commandant Air Cadets.


CGI Mark Wardley receiving his long service certificate Aug 07

The inaugural George Young Memorial Trophy for the ‘best engineer in the hangar’, awarded to the VGS with the best engineering standards in 2007, was presented at RAF College Cranwell on 22 June 2008.


A total of 67,079 launches were flown in the period from 2 August 1981 to 30 September 2007.  5,765 cadets have received Familiarisation Training, 2,555 have completed Initial Gliding Training / Gliding Induction Courses, 377 have been awarded Basic Gliding Training / Gliding Scholarship certificates and 55 have completed Advanced training.


                                                     February 2004                    June 2004                          Sunset                        August 2005                Another sunset





                                                                                                       Sunset 30 Dec 07                                   A visitor                                                                                


                                                                     626 Deployment to Canada??                  Another Visitor                                  A Windy Day