News from CUAS

Leadership Camp

After a long Christmas break the students of CUAS assembled at RAF Wittering on the second weekend of January to take part in a Personal Development and Leadership Training exercise.  These exercises are conducted on an annual basis, allowing ‘first years’ to complete their initial military skills and also experience leadership challenges where they are tested outside their comfort zone.  Additionally, it is a bonding exercise where the ‘old hands’ can get to mentor the new members, both on exercise and socially.

The weekend began with the RAF Fitness Test which the students have to complete and pass on a 6 monthly basis.  Parachute landing drills were taught to the new students or refreshed for the older members.  The High Ropes facility at Wittering provided a good personal challenge for some of the students and, under the experienced guidance of the Wittering instructors, any fear of heights was conquered.  Additionally, on the first day all students had the opportunity to cook and sample field ration packs and to erect and repack a 12×12 tent.  The second day was entirely focussed on weapons handling of the L85 A2 rifle, culminating in the completion of the weapons handling test.  The excellent facilities of the Wittering gym provided the opportunity to have an inter-flight volleyball match and a gym test competition which was won by A Flight.  Later that evening B Flight took their revenge by winning the Ten Pin Bowling evening held at the Witttering Bowl.  The final day of the camp was split between leadership exercises in Vigo Wood and live firing on the 25M range.  Some students showed natural marksmanship abilities and will hopefully go on to compete for the combined UAS team at Bisley later this year.  A great weekend of fun filled activity was enjoyed by all and the students returned to their respective universities to begin the new term.

PHOTO: who said the construction industry was in crisis?


Charity Burns Night

CUAS held a charity Burns Night and Ceilidh at Town HQ on 25th January.

A completely student organised event, attendees were treated to a traditional three course Scottish meal with all the Burns Night trimmings.  After the meal an entertaining three-hour session of Scottish dancing was held in the Town House groundschool, where music and dance lessons were provided by the Cambridge Scottish Ceilidh Band.  Despite the numerous bruises, carpet burns and profusion of sweat, the night was a resounding success with plans to run a similar event next year.

The Burns Night is the second charity event undertaken by CUAS this academic year (the first being the Annual Norwich to Cambridge cycle race), and added a further £450 of sponsorship money to the unit’s charity total.  This year’s charities, as chosen by the students, are the East Anglia Air Ambulance and Prostate Cancer UK.  There are 4 further CUAS charity events planned for the coming year.

PHOTO:  ‘enthusiastic dancers too quick for the photographer’


Alpine Dash


On the 5th January a 16
strong contingent of Cambridge University Air Squadron (CUAS) staff and students left RAF Wyton for Les Contamines ski area, France.

The aim of the expedition was to qualify 6 students to Skiing Foundation level 1, and provide coaching to enable the remaining 7 students to improve their form and technique.

Les Contamines is a short distance from Geneva airport and looks on to Mont Blanc, with a variety of slopes to keep the group busy.  In true military fashion, no time was wasted and the skiing began at 0820 each morning and, after a self cooked meal in the evening, lectures were completed by 2000 hrs.

The beginners were put into the capable hands of Flt Lt Randle and Flt Lt Calvert , who were on hand to supply instruction.  The first morning saw many of the beginners falling over, but all were snow ploughing their way down blue runs by the end of the day.  The determination, motivation and instruction of the group meant that all beginners were skiing parallel down red runs by the end of the week.

For the intermediate skiers there was an enormous amount of learning to be done.  Progression was swift, with skills such as tackling rolling terrain (with varying degrees of success) and short swings learnt, everyone growing in confidence.

At the end of the week all students were awarded Ski Foundation 1, allowing them to go on to Germany to do some ski touring with the RAF.  Although the main aim of the expedition was ski training, it also served as a medium to meet multiple training aims of the UAS core syllabus. Students were empowered to organise logistics, food, transport, equipment and the myriad of other issues which have to be addressed to enable an expedition of this kind to run smoothly.  CUAS have a further two weeks of skiing training in Easter for those that weren’t able to attend.