Today, Kate, The Duchess of Cambridge, visited RAF Wittering, near Peterborough, in her role as patron and Honorary Air Commandant of the RAF air cadets.
Catherine displayed her athletic side, by taking part in a series of jumping games, which were part of a team building exercise.
While meeting with young air cadets, the Duchess was invited to sit in the cockpit of the Grob 115e tutor, the RAF training aircraft, a similar plane to the type her husband, Prince William, learnt to fly in.
Cadet Sergeant Jordan Bertolaso, a flying instructor, talked Catherine through the aircraft’s controls. Cadet Sgt Bertolaso said: “It’s incredible to have such a high-profile Royal as our patron, especially as she has strong links to the Royal Air Force with her husband being a former pilot.”
Introduced to cadets taking part in a half-term skills development course – which acts as an initial camp experience for those in their first six months of membership – The Duchess of Cambridge also put her flying skills to the test, using a glider simulator on the air base. As she placed her feet on the pedals, and took hold of the joystick, she appeared slightly nervous. However, with the guidance of Flight Lieutenant Michael Salter, Catherine soon got the hang of the flying ‘straight and level’.
The Flight Lieutenant stated, “She was extremely good, she was a natural! She was very gentle on the controls, very often people are too rough. She said she hasn’t flown before and wanted to understand what the feeling was like.”
— Kensington Palace (@KensingtonRoyal) February 14, 2017
The Duchess has many relatives who have been involved in the aviation industry over the years. Her husband is a Search and Rescue pilot for the East Anglian Air Ambulance, and was previously an RAF Pilot. William will be leaving the role this summer. Catherine’s father-in-law, and grandfather-in-law, Prince Charles and Prince Phillip respectively, were also pilots, and Prince Harry flew Apache helicopters.
In addition to this, her mother was formerly a flight attendant for British Airways, and her grandfather flew in the RAF during WWII.
The mother-of-two became patron of the air cadets in December 2015, following The Duke of Edinburgh who held the position for over 60 years. The Duchess now represents over 40,000 air cadets between the ages 12 to 19. The air cadets consists of both the Combined Cadet Force and the Air Training Corps. The latter was established in 1941, with the aim of training young recruits in aviation skills, before they went on to join the RAF.
Group Captain Richard Pratley, Station Commander at RAF Wittering said, “It has been an honour to welcome Her Royal Highness to RAF Wittering to see some of the facilities we offer to cadets to help inspire the next generation.”
It has been a busy week for Kate, as she attended the BAFTA awards on Sunday evening, accompanying her husband, who introduced the Fellowship award. Recently, she has continued her work with mental health causes, where she visited a school to celebrate ‘kindness’ and participated in a 50m relay during a London Marathon training session.