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Celebrating 100 YEARS of the RAF: THIS UNIQUE PROGRAM GIVES STUDENTS AND CADET GROUPS AN UP CLOSE LOOK AT HOW CANADA AND UK HAVE WORKED TOGETHER TO DEFEND THE SKIES OVER THE LAST CENTURY.

To celebrate 100 years of the Royal Air Force (RAF), school and cadet groups across Eastern Ontario and Western Quebec are getting an exclusive opportunity to learn about how pilots from the British and Canadian armed forces continue to work together to support peace and security around the world.

With inspiring future generations being such a big theme of RAF100 celebrations, the UK's Naval and Air Attache to Canada, Commander Neil Marriott (Royal Navy), called on Ottawa based RAF Exchange Officers, Squadron Leader Drew Anderson and Squadron Leader Andy Wilson, to offer a series of informative and exciting visits for school and youth groups, in partnership with volunteer group Vintage Wings of Canada.

During each session 30 teenagers are invited to visit Vintage Wings' impressive aircraft collection at the Gatineau Airport where they receive an informal presentation on the history of the RAF by current serving members. They also learn about Canada's role in the British Commonwealth Air Training Plan during the Second World War and how the RAF and RCAF continue to cooperate today.

So far, school groups from Carleton Place and cadet groups from the Cornwall area have taken part, and at least two further school and cadet groups have trips planned for the coming weeks.

RAF Squadron Leader Drew Anderson, who is currently on exchange with the RCAF, said,

"We've got a fantastic opportunity here to help the next generation learn a little bit of our shared history while at the same time maybe inspiring some of them to consider a career in aerospace."

"The volunteer staff at Vintage Wings of Canada have been fantastic and everyone is fully supportive of our RAF100 outreach activities. It's also important to remember that this is not a museum - these aircraft actually fly - and these youth are really excited to get so close to such beautiful and functioning classic aircraft."

Don Buchan from Vintage Wings of Canada said, "As an organization we are all about inspiring young people, so the RAF100 commemoration gave us the catalyst we were looking for to put together an interesting and informative program that we could use to reach a lot of local youths."

The RAF has capitalized on its centenary year to: Commemorate 100 years of extraordinary success, achievement and sacrifice; Celebrate the professionalism and dedication of today's RAF, which is airborne 24/7 supporting UK and allied interests around the world; and Inspire future generations by telling its unique story.

While welcoming the first school group to Vintage Wings, Commander Marriott said, "The focus of these events is to celebrate the history of the RAF and demonstrate its close relationship with the RCAF over the last century and today, at home and overseas".

"We will inform you of the significant scientific leaps in aeronautics that were required to form the modern Air Forces of today, hopefully inspiring you to be Canada's future scientists, engineers, medical professionals or even pilots".

BY TREVOR KERR

Trevor Kerr is head of communications at the British High Commission in Ottawa

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Title Annotation:Royal Canadian Air Force
Author:Kerr, Trevor
Publication:Canadian Defence Review
Geographic Code:1CANA
Date:Jun 1, 2018
Words:502
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