Thursday 30th April 2009 by C. Freeman
Air cadet Stephen Payne met Prince William during a three-day trip to RAF Shawbury in Shropshire. Stephen was one of just six cadets who were picked to have work experience on the Station which trains helicopter aircrew, air traffic controllers and flight operations personnel.
Stephen, who is in Year 12, visited the Air Traffic Control and Flight Operations Schools and stayed in the Officers' Mess. He was nominated for the work experience by 1101 (Kettering) Squadron where he has been a cadet for three years.
He said: 'The first day was travelling, getting to meet other people and just talking with the Armed Forces Careers officer. The next day we visited the Air Traffic Control and Flight Operations School. We met the Commander of the Air Traffic Control School and were shown around the simulators and everything.' RAF Shawbury trains around 1000 recruits a year and Prince William is training at the base. Stephen said: 'We saw him around and he came up and said a few words to us.'
Stephen, who volunteers at a gliding club at RAF Henlow, has already flown solo, but is now undertaking further glider training so he will one day be able to instruct other students. The trip to RAF Shawbury has given him a real insight into the opportunities offered by the RAF and he has applied to join as a Flight Operations Assistant.
He said: 'During the work experience trip I learned about the training, the equipment they have got, what air traffic or flight operations involves … it's not a job, it's a life and I really enjoyed my time at RAF Shawbury and have kept in touch with the other visiting air cadets as well.'