London and South East Region (LaSER) has already begun planning to send around 50 Air Cadets to next year’s US Aerospace Camp in Florida, USA.
This annual camp is open to cadets over 16 years old and staff in LaSER. 2024 will be the 30th Anniversary of the first camp to Florida, and will be advertised once flight prices have been confirmed in June.
This year’s travellers have just returned after a packed schedule which included volunteering at the week long Sun 'N Fun International Expo and Airshow, and visits to the Kennedy Space Centre Visitor Complex and Cape Canaveral.
Sqn Ldr John Wohlgemuth RAFAC, who was in charge of the camp, outlined some of the many benefits of attending.
“It’s an awesome aerospace extravaganza," said the OC of Biggin Hill Squadron.
"The US is such a great place to visit, especially Florida with so much aviation and space history, and still making history.
“It also gives them a personal interest in international affairs as they gain knowledge about the USA, Florida, the United States Air Force, the Artemis programme and Astronaut recovery.”
172 cadets applied for the 2023 US Aerospace Camp and this was whittled down to just 40, plus 12 staff members. Cadets were selected by a number of factors, including their rank, classifications, and other camps attended. It is aimed at older cadets who have proved a level of self-sufficiency.
The cost per cadet and staff member for 2023 was £1200 for the 15-day trip.
Once there, cadets were able to hone their aircraft recognition skills and also got to meet their American counterparts, the Civil Air Patrol.
They attended educational practical workshops and also helped with some operational duties at the Sun ‘N Fun International Expo & Airshow.
Off-camp visits included the Commonwealth War Graves know as "The British Plot" at Oakridge Cemetery in Arcadia, Florida which is the final resting place of 23 trainee RAF pilots as well as a day at the Kennedy Space Centre Visitor Complex. There was also a trip down Peace River in an Airboat, plus a day at Universal Studios, Orlando.
Cadets visited Cape Canaveral Space Force Station and met the team that recover astronauts once they return to earth.
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