UK Trainee Aviators Practice at Sea Flights

British trainee aviators have been trying to find their sea legs during a six week training exercise to see if they have got what it takes to fly at sea.

The trainee aircrew from 824 Naval Air Squadron are about to be awarded with their Wings – but only if they pass the final, and most difficult part of their course; the sea phase. This has been the first time that the students have practiced their flying skills at sea, having performed most of their training so far in the state of the art flight simulators at Royal Naval Air Station Culdrose.

824 Naval Air Squadron plays a vital role in training the Royal Navy’s future Pilots, Observers and Aircrewmen who will eventually serve on Britain’s newest aircraft carrier, the HMS Queen Elizabeth. The squadron trains aircrew and engineers in every aspect of the Merlin helicopter, equipping them with the knowledge and skills that will be required once they deploy on Naval operations. Before the students take to the air, they are taught in ‘ground school’ and undergo computer based training in specially designed helicopter simulators, enabling them to practice flying procedures in a safe and controlled environment.

The current cohort of Merlin students are the first full compliment to go through training for the Merlin Mk2 helicopter – the most advanced maritime helicopter in the world.

During their deployment at sea, they have been based onboard RFA Argus. The course of six student aircrew has been flying three Merlin helicopters to and from the ship in the Southwest approaches. They have been practicing deck landings, tactical sorties and generally preparing for aviation at sea. After they honed their flying skills, they moved onto more advanced sorties including searching for submarines.

Image: FAAOA

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