On arrival the three Blues players were taken out to see the latest addition to the RAF's inventory of transport aircraft, the C-17 Globemaster III. The aircraft is designed to carry out high-angle, steep approaches at a relatively slow speed to allow operation into small airfields and runways, as short as 3,500 feet and 90 feet wide.
This unique design of aircraft can provide transport of 45,360kgs of freight, over 4,500 miles. The aircraft can carry almost allof the Army's air-transportable combat equipment, from three Warrior armored vehicles or 13 Land Rovers, to three Apache-sized helicopters.
Chris Czekaj said, 'It is great to get the opportunity to have a look around an operational RAF base, especially some of the bigger pieces of kit the RAF operate. I regularly see RAF Brize Norton referred to on the news but you can't fully appreciate the size and scale of the job the RAF do until you get physically be here.'
The boys' next stop was the No 1 Parachute Training School, where they made use of the simulated parachute training equipment. The players were set up in the harness and using the simulator had to guide their way to a specific landing point on the ground.
Speaking of the experience Tom Davies said 'I have a lot of respect for the job these guys do! I managed to crash on my parachute simulation experience whilst the trainees made it look like second nature - it's definitely harder than it looks.'
The centre provides training for 3 squadrons, each playing a key role in the delivery of the parachute training, consisting of Military Training Squadron, Specialist Training Squadron and Training Support Squadron.
Wing Commander Nick Smith said "Having had an excellent mutually beneficial sponsorship agreement with Cardiff Blues for 3 years it was a great opportunity to let 3 of the players gain a greater insight into what we do in the modern RAF; I think they were genuinely shocked at the size of both RAF Brize Norton and the impressive C-17 aircraft".
RAF careers are involved with the Cardiff Blues as part of their Outreach program which seeks to develop leadership and management skills in young people and raise awareness in all ages of what the role of the modern air force is and the job opportunities that exist. With over 50 different jobs currently available in the Regular and Reserve it is a good time to take a look at http://www.raf.mod.uk/careers/