#1213 Viking T1
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Squadron Prints Lithograph No. 1213 - Viking T1, ZE611 'XL', 611 Volunteer Gliding Squadron, STANTA Airfield, Watton. In October 1944 E102 Gliding School was formed at Hethersett Racecourse, 6 miles south of Norwich with two Kirby Cadet Mk1 gliders and a Dagling Primary glider. The school moved to RAF Horsham St. Faith (now Norwich International Airport) in June 1945 and the Dagling glider was replaced by two Cadet Mk1’s. The establishment was further increased in March 1948 with a Kirby Cadet Mk2 (Tutor) and in April 1949 a German built Grunau Baby II ‘sailplane’ also arrived. All these aircraft were single seat and it was not until 1950 that the dual control Slingsby T21 Sedbergh was brought into service. The Cadet Mk1 and Mk2 were phased out in 1953 when the Kirby Cadet Mk3 (Slingsby T31 Tandem-Tutor) came into service and all training was then undertaken in dual control gliders. Both the Sedbergh and Mk3’s were to remain in service for the next 25 years along with the Slingsby Prefect and Swallow sailplanes, which were periodically used for advanced training. In 1955 reorganisation within RAF Reserve Command led to the school being absorbed into No. 61 Group and reclassified as No. 611 Gliding School. The unit remained at Horsham St Faith for eight years and in June 1963 it relocated to RAF Swanton Morley where it remained for the next 42 years. During July 1978 the Sedbergh and Mk3 Gliders were replaced as the school became one of the first units to be re-equipped with three Venture T2 Self-Launching Gliders. The school was awarded the Slingsby Trophy for the best Venture unit in both 1983 and 1985. Conventional winch launch gliders returned March 1987 when the Grob Viking T.1 replaced the Venture. Occasionally a Schleicher Valiant T.1 single seater was also operated. When Swanton Morley closed in 1995 the school temporarily relocated to RAF Marham while a new hanger and accommodation was built at Stanta Airfield, the former RAF Watton and in October 1996 the aircraft were flown in from Marham. 611 won the Racal Trophy in 2005, the Sir Arthur Marshall Trophy in 2007 and the CFS Trophy in 2010. In 2007 all VGS were renamed Volunteer Gliding Squadrons. Cadets from all the ATC Squadrons in the Norfolk & Suffolk Wing and some from the Beds & Cambs Wing, as well as School CCF Units attend 611 VGS for flying training from Gliding Induction to Advanced standard. Following the sale of Watton, Viking operations ceased at Easter 2012, and the Squadron will be re-equipping with Grob Vigilants at RAF Honington.