ROYAL Air Force air cadets in Dumfriesshire are reaching new heights -- gaining useful skills and demonstrating a spirit of adventure.
And Dumfriesshire constituency MSP Oliver Mundell has highlighted the valuable work their organisation provides in offering training, guidance and experience.
Mr Mundell recently joined the Dumfries-based unit of the Air Training Corps (ATC) at one of their twice-weekly training nights.
He saw first hand why the squadron was going from strength to strength attracting more than 20 young people, male and female, between the ages of 12 and 20.
The politician, who is a scout leader in Moffat, learned about the wide range of activities offered to cadets, including camps at RAF bases, opportunities to fly gliders, taking control of twin-control training aircraft and learning hands on navigation skills.
The 1153 (2nd Dumfriesshire) Squadron ATC operates from a long-established building on Ministry of Defence land just off Edinburgh Road.
Amongst their equipment they have a flight simulator, which was partly put together by the cadets themselves.
They also parade at special events such as Remembrance Sunday ceremonies and the annual commemoration service for Battle of Britain leader, Air Chief Marshal Hugh Dowding, at his home town Moffat.
The squadron is the last remaining RAF Air Cadets unit in Dumfriesshire and welcomes members from across the county.
Mr Mundell took part in several training sessions and later spoke to the cadets about his working life in the constituency and at the Scottish Parliament.
He said: "I was delighted to take up the invitation and was impressed to discover more about the fantastic opportunities air cadets receive, which includes the possibility of flying experience.
"For some the carefully structured training programme can lead to an RAF career or in other aspects of aviation while in other cases it helps them in their future life in other ways.
"Like other youth organisations there are also outdoor and other activities, some leading towards the Duke of Edinburgh's Award."
Squadron Commanding Officer, Flight Lieutenant Scott Niven said: "The skills the cadets learn can be useful in both service or civilian life. They encourage a spirit of adventure, develop leadership skills and foster citizenship."
He added that young people interested in joining were welcome to come along to training nights between 7 and 9 pm on Tuesdays and 7 and 9.30 pm on Fridays.
The unit was also keen to recruit additional volunteer instructors with a variety of skills.