Australia: Commander Reaches 4000th Flying Hour

Commander Reaches 4000th Flying Hour

A clear lower deck was called at 808 Squadron on 4 June so the Squadron could assemble to watch their Commanding Officer, Commander Charlie Stephenson, touch down in a MRH90 after reaching his 4000th flying hour.

“This is a very significant milestone, particularly for a helicopter pilot”, Executive Officer LCDR Peter Wynter said. “This places Commander Stephenson up there with the greats like Tanzi Lea and Tony Reyne”.

Commander Stephenson described himself as feeling a “bit overwhelmed” by the enthusiastic reception he received.

It felt like a significant achievement”, he said, “and came with the bonus that it marked the completion of my MRH90 Captaincy check, and of course, achieving this milestone as CO of 808 makes it even more special”

Commander Stephenson said his next goal centres on the MRH90. “There are still a number of challenges with the MRH90 program, but I am very confident with the capability of the aircraft and what it brings for Navy and the wider ADF. My focus is on the continued development of NUSQN 808 through to commissioning and full military certification of the MRH90 Soon two MRH90 will embark in HMAS Choules for OT&E which is the next step in this process and a very important one at that.”

As to the comparisons with Tanzi Lea and Tony Reyne, Commander Stephenson said “It was very was nice to hear that from my XO, but I don’t think I will ever reach the hours those gentlemen have achieved.”

Naval Today Staff , June 12, 2012; Image: Australian Navy