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Heading to St Athan Airfield for a trial flight is really quite unique, as you'll be entering a restricted MoD unit! This large military site is steeped in aviation history and today combines civilian and military use, so it's a fascinating place to take a flight from.Technically speaking, MoD St Athan is part of the Cardiff Airport Enterprise Zone, so it's not just military comings and goings around here, there are also many civilian operations, including this training school and several maintenance, repair and overhaul businesses (MRO in aviation speak!) housed in hangars on site too.Even getting to your lesson is an exciting mission. You'll be met at the main gate by a member of the school's team and go through security procedures so you can get a temporary pass to enter MoD St Athan. Once all the formalities have been done, you'll be escorted to the pre-flight briefing rooms.And there's often a real buzz in this part of the airfield. In the summer air display season, you may very well be rubbing shoulders with pilots prepping their displays, whilst there are often teams co-ordinating engineering test flights too. So if you're a big aviation fan and want to pose a couple of questions, go ahead, now's your chance!Once you're own pre-flight briefing has been completed, it's time to take to the Cessna 150 or a PA28 as it's your turn to get airborne over St Athan. It's no coincidence that all the instructor pilots at this school are ex-RAF or Navy pilots and engineers, so you'll be in excellent and highly trained hands. Your pilot will handle the take off, which gives you time to get used to the sensation of being in a small light aircraft and take in the wonderful views of the Vale of Glamorgan below you.Now you've reached altitude, your pilot will be trusting you with the controls. This is where you learn just what it takes to fly straight and level, then you'll maybe try some turns too. It's hard to imagine that it'll actually be you controlling this aircraft at several thousand feet above the Ministry of Defence's St Athan site!And as you're at St Athan, you'll be invited on a short informal tour of the hangar that sits on MoD land, which is a complete treasure trove of military flying history, from the Hawker Hunter and jet Provost to the L29 and L39s - this will make any plane fan's day for sure!
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