Wing News

Feeling the Need for Speed

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On Friday 16th August I had the immense privilege of flying in a BAe Hawk T2. I was awarded this flight during the summer camp to RAF Valley and it was certainly one of the most amazing 40 minutes of my life.
After I was told about the flight, I had to go down to IV (R) Squadron, based at RAF Valley, to be fitted out with all of the equipment I would need – Flying helmet; Flying Suit; Life-saving Jacket; G-trousers etc. The following morning I had to take a medical examination that testing my eyesight and general health, and also checking my measurements to ensure that I would fit into the ejection seat in the aircraft. After being given the all clear I was delighted as I then went back to IV squadron to prepare for my flight.
The weather, fortunately, was perfect so there was nothing stopping my flight from going ahead. I had a very detailed safety brief with one of the student pilots and the Flying Training School, followed by some training on the various switches in the cockpit and how to use the ejection seat in an emergency. I then went with my instructor to the aircraft and got strapped in and was given a further brief before we were ready to begin.
We took off at exactly 14:00 and after taking a couple of photographs, the pilot allowed me to take control. Actually controlling the aircraft was an incredible experience as it handles so much better than anything I’d flown in before. The sensation of speed was brilliant as I managed to hit 500kts (575mph), about three quarters of the speed of sound. I flew many turns and rolls and other manoeuvres and got to feel just how great the Hawk is. The increased G-forces from the turns were very intense and uncomfortable but I started to get used to them after a little while. My instructor was a very skilled and knowledgeable pilot, and he taught me how to turn tighter and faster and how to roll quickly, and other manoeuvres only possible in a fast jet. The views outside the aircraft were stunning as we flew over the Welsh coastline and then over the tops of the mountains.
It was the experience of a lifetime and I will never forget just how incredible it was to be in control of such an amazing aircraft. I cannot thank enough the staff that made this possible; I don’t think anything in my life will be able to live up to this!