Each year, the Air Cadets receives approximately 3,000 Duke of Edinburgh Awards across the scheme’s bronze, silver and gold levels, amounting to over 193,000 awards since the programme began in 1956.
Sergeant William Tano said: “It is one of then best experiences I have ever had.”
Group Captain Al Lewis said of the visit: “It was a really unique experience and the cadets only found out an hour before they arrived. Given that we haven’t had much activity over the last years it was a real morale boost. It was wonderful for them, too, to see the real legacy that the Duke of Edinburgh left.
“I spoke to the Duke about whether he was still flying and he said he was very keen to try to keep his flying hours up. He clearly misses flying professionally.
“It was interesting to see the Duchess get in the simulator instead of him. She did very well. He was goading her to say ‘well it’s not as easy as it seems.”
The Duke of Edinburgh gained his Royal Air Force wings in 1953. Throughout his patronage he frequently met with cadets and took a keen interest in their activities and achievements.
In 1962, to mark the 21st anniversary of the Air Training Corps, he presented the Corps with its own Banner during a service and parade at St Clement Danes.
Meanwhile, the Princess Royal visited three hospitals in Gloucestershire, to thank staff for their hard work over the past year.