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Landowners find out about Royal Navy fire tender (Big Red)
Royal Navy Merlin in flight with landowners on board
Three landowners exiting a Royal Navy Merlin post flight
Landowners receive a pre-flight safety brief
Landowner (on right) on open tail ramp of a Royal Navy Merlin in flight
Landowners in flight in a Royal Navy Merlin


Published: 31 May 2016

The majority of remote Helicopter Landing Sites within the Yeovilton operating area belong to private landowners and are offered for use on a good will basis. These sites are vital to the training carried out by the Commando Helicopter Force and other aviation units to deliver operational capability.  In order to maintain and reinforce this essential link with the local community a ‘Landowners’ Day’ took place at Merryfield Airfield, Ilton near Ilminster today, Wednesday 25th May 2016.

The aim of the day was to demonstrate to landowners how their continued support is a critical enabler to the operational effectiveness of the Command Helicopter Force and to allow Commando Helicopter Force personnel to meet directly with the Landowners to thank them for their continued essential support for aviation training.

The day provided a greater understanding of the training requirement by offering the opportunity for each Landowner and their family to fly in a Commando Helicopter Force Merlin aircraft.


The day is coordinated by the Commando Mobile Air Operations Team who are the liaison between the flying Units and the Landowner’s. The Commando Mobile Air Operations Team also provides ground elements to off-site training on private land for personnel of the Commando Helicopter Force. 

Commando Mobile Air Operations Team are usually employed as an elite tactical reconnaissance force capable of undertaking reconnoitres of Helicopter Landing Sites and establishments, as well as other reconnoitre duties within 3 Commando Brigade.  The can work in all conditions and terrain and can use a wide variety of insertion techniques.


Participating landowners may be asked for land to be up to about three times a year with any use always pre-arranged. Some landowners offer land for use after harvest or grass/hay cut, whilst others have land available throughout the year. Any landowner considering offering their land for use may obtain further information through the Commando Helicopter Force, which is based at RNAS Yeovilton and the Commando Mobile Air Operations Team on Tel: 01935 456807.  

Photographs (All by Petty Officer Si Ethell RN):


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