615 VGS has had another successful summer in 2012 in spite of the the challenge of being shutdown for 4 weeks due to the Olympic airspace restrictions. The first summer course in July suffered from some of the worst weather we have ever had for our end of July course, but the squadron still managed to achieve 5 GS Solo, 1 GS Non-Solo, and an AGT.
615 staff spent a week on detachment at the beginning of August at the Scottish Gliding Union site at Portmoak, just north of Edinburgh, where everyone got the opportunity to use the unique conditions to try ridge soaring, an opportunity not afforded at Kenley.
The second summer course in August was a great success also. 12 GS Solo, 1 GS Non-Solo, and 1 AGT was the result of a lot of hard work by all the squadron staff. September sees us running three day weekend ops with field days on the Fridays, to make up the lost ground from the Olympics stand down.
In the course of his plan to visit all the VGS's, OC 3FTS Gp Capt John Cunningham called in to 615VGS and familiarised himself with the 615 Estate and idiosyncrasies of operating from the unique site that is RAF Kenley, the only VGS within the M25, OC 615 took him for a couple familiarisation flights so he could see the operating environment and the view of London.
His visit coincided with the end of the week long residential GS course, a week that was plagued with unseasonable poor weather, however the, the commitment and perseverance of the 615 staff turned what could have been a complete wash out into a successful week resulting in 9 GS Awards being made. Grp Cpt Cunningham present the GS students with their wings and certificates and gave a brief on the current state of play for the Cadets and VGS's.
615 VGS is proud to announce that it was awarded the Sir Arthur Marshall Trophy for 2011 at the annual VGS CO's conference, which was held at the RAF College Cranwell last weekend. The trophy is awarded annually to the best Viking Squadron, and was presented to OC 615 VGS, Sqn Ldr Keith Chandler, who has now had the honour of being awarded the trophy 3 times in 5 years. From the Boss and all the exec team, thanks to all staff for your support and help.
After the poor weather of December and a washout over Coursemas, the New Year has started well at 615. Congratulations to FSC Mark 'Barry' Ramsden who achieved his Grade 1 Pilot status on New Year's Eve, and has been flying GIC cadets, as you can see in the picture below taken towards the end of the day on Sunday 15th January. The better weather of late has helped get 615 VGS off to a flying start in 2012, making the most of the short days, with over 20 GICs already awarded to cadets from visiting squadrons.
A huge congratulations to Fg Off Stu Raeburn, who passed his A Cat course at Central Gliding School, RAF Syerston, on the 25 November. Stu is a long serving member of staff having been a part of 615 VGS since moving from 617 VGS, RAF Manston when it closed in 1999.