Wednesday 26th May 2010 by C. Freeman
Sixth Formers Phil Cridge and Matthew Gibb are both planning a career in the RAF, with Phil wanting to become a pilot and Matthew aiming to join the ground protection force which offers security to airbases.
Both have passed the initial interviews and fitness tests and are now waiting to go on four-day appraisals, with Phil's officer and aircrew assessment taking place this month while Matthew will attend his at RAF Honington in July.
Phil, who has obtained scholarships for parachute training and gliding through the Air Training Corps, said: 'The aptitude testing lasts for seven hours in front of a computer with only five minutes off every hour. The on-screen tests are all about hand-eye co-ordination and maths. If I am accepted to be a pilot I will not get a choice about what aircraft I fly, the RAF see what you are best at, so you could end up flying anything from a Chinook to a Eurofighter.'
Matthew said: 'I applied to join back in February as a regular gunner, a trade involved in the protection of airbases, so I would go out on security patrols. I would like the physicality of it both mentally and physically. I believe I have got room to improve and progress a lot further in that trade. My test in July will involve team-building, physical endurance and just getting used to the lifestyle.'
If accepted Matthew will have to sign up at least nine years while Phil's minimum length of service as a pilot will be 18 years. They have both been attracted to the Royal Air Force because of the range of opportunities it offers to learn new skills. Matthew said: 'Once you complete your basic training and go into your role there are so many extra activities you can apply to do, like expeditions, sports and further training courses.'