UK: Royal Navy Praises York Air Engineer

Royal Navy Praises York Air Engineer

An eagle eyed aircraft engineer, from York, has helped ensure the safety of a Royal Navy helicopter and its crew by spotting a serious problem on the aircraft.

Working on the busy flight deck of HMS Kent, AET Ali Dale has been praised by the ship’s Commanding Officer for discovering a defect on one of the exhaust shrouds of Kent’s Merlin helicopter.

If the defect had been left unchecked it could potentially have led to serious consequences.

But astute Ali identified the problem while carrying out after-flight checks and immediately reported the problem to his superiors, allowing them to diagnose the fault as a sheared connecting support rod – one of two that hold the shroud in place.

The 24-year-old said: “As an AET, I am trained to identify any defects with the aircraft. In noticing this fault I believe I was simply carrying out my job.”

Type 23 frigate HMS Kent is currently deployed to the Gulf region on counter piracy and counter terrorism patrols.

Royal Navy Praises York Air Engineer

It has been a busy deployment for the ship and her air engineering team who have worked on the flightdeck during a hot, humid summer.

AET Dale was in the ship’s hangar stowing the Merlin as part of his After Flight Service when he noticed that the helicopter’s number two exhaust shroud was displaying excessive movement and raised it with his supervisor as a defect that could ground the aircraft.

Kent’s Commanding Officer, Commander Ben Ripley, said: “Despite the arduous working conditions and the repetitive nature of the job, AET Dale’s awareness and vigilance should be highly commended.

“His professional approach combined with his concern as to what the outcome could have been demonstrates an excellent attitude to his work as he highlighted and may have prevented a serious air incident.”

HMS Kent has been working as part of the 27 nation Combined Maritime Forces to ensure the flow of oil and other goods by sea in the Gulf region.

She left her home port of Portsmouth in March and was the first Royal Navy frigate to visit Tripoli, in Libya, in over 40 years.

Press Release, September 17, 2013; Image: Royal Navy