Becoming an Adult Volunteer at a VGS
Here's a quick guide to what's involved when you become a volunteer at a VGS. It is
mainly focused on the way things are done at 633, however most of the information
here will apply to VGS' across the country.
What is required from me as a volunteer at a VGS?
We ask that you give up one day per weekend every week as a minimum - if you can
do more then it is very much appreciated, but not expected of you. In addition to
weekends, we operate three to four continuous courses per year that can last from five
to ten days, of which we ask you to attend at least two for the full duration.
Will I need to have my own equipment?
All flying gear will be issued to you for free after completion of a successful probation
period. This will require your signature and must also be returned upon resignation
from the unit. Kit includes all flying equipment (suit, aircrew shirts, boots, gloves, headset, etc.).
Do I need a Private Pilots Licence to join a VGS?
No formal flying experience is required, as full training will be provided. Whilst it may
be seen by some as an advantage, your reliability and commitment to the unit is worth
far more at this stage, as all staff will undergo thorough training before being allowed
to fly the aircraft either solo or as an instructor regardless of their qualifications.
What can I expect in return?
The satisfaction of giving youngsters what could be their first experience of aviation, right
through to sending them on their first solo flight in a light aircraft. All training is provided,
as well as food and accommodation on continuous courses and weekends where required.
Return travel expenses can also be claimed once you've reached a suitable category.
Though the commitment of having to attend for a whole day every weekend may seem
a little bit daunting at first, the reward of knowing that you've made somebody's day by
taking them on their first flight ever and potentially given somebody the enthusiasm to take
up flying as a career or hobby can be immense.
Do I get paid?
Nope unfortunately not, it's just voluntary. Isn't free kit, accommodation and flying not enough?!?!
What does a typical day consist of?
Arriving at the VGS between 0815 and 0830 the first thing to do is unlock all of the buildings,
including the hangar.
The main task initially is to get all of the aircraft serviced - each VGS will have between three and
five aircraft. Here at Cosford we have four, so the hangar is always a bit busy first thing.
Vehicles are collected from MT, parachutes given their daily servicing, and the morning met brief
is prepared. By around 0930 the morning brief is given, lasting approximately ten minutes.
The cadet's parachute and emergency brief is given before hand to help speed up the initial preparation.
After the brief the day's flying task begins. This involves four pilots (one for each aircraft) and their
students to fly, two crew for the fire truck (health and safety and all that!), a duty instructor (or DI) to
oversee the safe operation of the aircraft. Other staff members prepare the next crews to fly and
undertake other ground tasks.
We generally stop for a lunch break anywhere between 12:00 and 13:00 and this will last
approximately 1 hour before we continue with the task in hand.
Refueling is performed by suitably qualified staff who are available on the ground. The bowser
has to be bought out from the fuel store first thing and taken back at the end of the day.
As sunset approaches we begin to start winding up for the day, when aircraft air cleaned, after
flight services are performed on the aircraft by the last Captain to fly it, and final wrapping up of
the day is carried out.
In order to make sure everything is locked up and finished from the days flying, we finalize everything
by having the de-brief.
As you can imagine, in summer the working day can be quite long and tiresome. Things can get a
bit hectic so working as a team is essential.
OK, I've read that, what now?
If you haven't been put off by any of the above and you think you'd like to join a VGS, get in touch with
us today, we are always excited by the prospect of welcoming new faces to the VGS, and can't wait
to see you at the headquarters.
contact can be made with OC 633 VGS using the details on the Contact Us tab