Former Neale Wade student graduates as a novice pilot - three years after he was the first to land at a reactivated airfield
PUBLISHED: 17:29 07 June 2017 | UPDATED: 17:30 07 June 2017
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A former Neale Wade student, who was the first trainee pilot to land at RAF Wittering's re-opened airfield in 2014 has graduated from the Cambridgeshire station's elementary flying training programme.
Flying Officer Alex Ogden was an undergraduate at the University of East Anglia and member of Cambridge University Air Squadron three years ago when he was co-pilot of the first aircraft to touch down at the reactivated airfield.
Alex has since graduated from UEA with a first class honours degree in mathematics and joined the RAF as an officer cadet.
Having completed his officer training at RAF College Cranwell he returned to RAF Wittering as a member of 16 (Reserve) Squadron.
Group Captain Rich Pratley, station commander at RAF Wittering, said: “It is perfect that the co-pilot of the first aircraft to land at our reactivated airfield in 2014 should graduate from this station as a novice pilot.
“That Flying Officer Ogden is local to us makes his graduation all the more remarkable.”
Flight lieutenant Dan Jones, the officer commanding 16 (R) Squadron, said: “Alex and his fellow students have done really well. It takes ability, talent and perseverance to complete this course – but this is a world class training system, so if you have the raw materials we can develop you.”
Flying Officer Ogden said: “I’ve always loved military aircraft, it’s why I became an air cadet and that’s how I learned about the air force.”
The 16 (R) Squadron is one of two Royal Air Force units which train novice pilots. The other is 57 (R) Squadron at RAF College Cranwell. Although there’s a healthy rivalry between the two squadrons, they both teach basic aircraft handling, navigation, aircraft systems and rules.
Alex has his sights set on the fast jets he saw in the skies over March, however, after elementary training pilots are selected for aircraft which their instructors feel suits them best - fast jet, helicopters or multi–engine.