James is flying high in RAF pilot training

James Nealings (centre) on parade at RAF College Cranwell.
James Nealings (centre) on parade at RAF College Cranwell.
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A former air cadet is flying high after beginning his RAF pilot training.

Ex-Longbenton air cadet James Nealings passed out at RAF College Cranwell to become an RAF officer.

The 22-year-old former Longbenton High School student successfully completed the challenging 24-week course at the Lincolnshire RAF base as a flying officer.

He said: “I absolutely love flying and have missed it during my initial officer training. The training was hard, probably harder than flying, but it was an experience I’ll never forget.”

James joined Longbenton Squadron aged 13.

“Joining the Air Cadets was the best decision I made,” he said. “It came about at a good time for me and helped me to grow, mature and develop.

“I’d always been fascinated with flying, but I initially joined because a friend came into school and said he was going to go flying and I thought, ‘well, I’ll be having some of that’. So I joined and it has led me on the road to making my dream job and life a reality.”

Longbenton Squadron’s Officer Commanding, Flight Lieutenant Gary Richardson, said: “James’ story is an inspirational one.

“Regardless as to what aims or career you desire, James has shown that if you work hard, are resilient and disciplined, then your dreams can come true.

“We are truly proud of him and the example he sets and wish him the best of luck for the future.”

James will soon begin his specialist elementary flying training, flying the Tutor aircraft – an aircraft he first flew as an air cadet.

Longbenton Squadron is currently open to new members from Year 8 and above.

For more information visit www.2344.org.uk