A few months ago, following the attendance at a Hondón Valley Branch meeting by Sgt (Dai) Williams RAF, a seed was sown to try and organise a visit to the Tactical Leadership Programme (TLP) based at Los Llanos Military Airbase, Albacete. [ Source: The Leader ]
The TLP delivers training courses for NATO pilots and support personnel. During these courses, they hold open days exclusively for course participants. It was decided that a visit during one of these open days would be an enjoyable and rare opportunity for TRBL members to engage with military personnel and aircraft from many different nations.
Following a confirmatory trip and some intense planning and organisation, Hondón Valley Branch members headed north to Albacete on Thursday 17th November.
With a full coach of rather exited aviation fans, we were met and very professionally hosted all day by Sgt Williams. After a hot beverage in the Airman’s canteen, we were given a guided tour of the Students’ accommodation, recreation areas and facilities.
A rather filling 3 course lunch then followed in the air base restaurant.
The TLP Commandant, Colonel Luis Villar Coloma and Suboficial mayor (WO) Zaranton formally welcomed the Group to Los Llanos Airbase and the TLP Facilities. In return Nigel Hails, District Chairman, thanked them for their co-operation and assistance in enabling the visit to go ahead.
The next activity was an important safety briefing before being ‘Let Loose ‘ onto the Runway/ Flight line for 2 hours.
The Branch members were spellbound by the informality and closeness you could achieve with 35 different NATO Fighter aircraft. Pilots and ground crew were on site to give guided tours of their respective jets, answer any questions and help visitors into the cockpits for the amazing photograph opportunities.
During the Flight line visit Cpl Simmons, (RAF) very kindly donated the unit’s Poppy Appeal contributions to the Branch. The photograph opportunity for this event was taken in front of a Royal Air Force Hawk Jet. Reluctantly the Branch were then gathered together before a Group-Team photograph. The Base memorabilia shop opened selling an array of “Top Gun Aviator” type goodies, clothing and merchandise.
After a cold drink and some farewells, the Branch were mustered onto the coach and returned to Home Base, the Hondon Valley.
The Branch would like to extend a massive thank –you to the TLP Commandant and his team based at Los Llanos.
The November weather was perfect. The sun shone in blue skies and Branch members will remember the visit for a long time.
To find out more about the Hondón Valley Branch, please contact the secretary on secretary.hondonvalley3577 @ gmail.com Or visit the website: www.britishlegion.org.uk/branches/hondon-valley