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Lt Cdr Steve Hayton (left) receiving his 3000 hrs cake from Lt Cdr Iain Macfarlane
Merlin Mk 2 (Bob Sharples)


Published: 14 Jun 2016

A Royal Navy Observer from Royal Naval Air Station Culdrose, Lieutenant Commander Steve ‘Hosey’ Hayton, has achieved the significant milestone of 3000 flying hours.


Steve joined the Royal Navy in 1989 and began his flying training as an Observer in 1990. In 1992 he joined 814 Naval Air Squadron embarked in HMS Invincible in Hong Kong followed by the first of three deployments to the Adriatic in support of Operation Grapple. In 1994 he qualified as a Qualified Observer Instructor (QOI) and went on to instruct Advanced Flying Training on 706 NAS.


In 1996, after being made compulsory redundant from the Royal Navy, he worked for Lockheed Martin, developing the curriculum and training devices for Merlin Mk1. He subsequently re-joined the Royal Navy the next year where he was involved in the Merlin Training System and 824 NAS, responsible for the development and testing of Merlin Mk1 training systems. He became one of the first Merlin Mk1 QOIs when the aircraft entered service in 1999 and went on to have an un-broken period of flying the Merlin through to 2010.


During this period he served with 820 NAS, deploying to the Middle East in HMS Invincible and Illustrious as well as ashore, based with 902 Expeditionary Air Wing in Oman. Promoted to Lieutenant Commander in 2006 he returned to the training environment as the ‘Sea Flight’ Commander on 824 NAS and then back to the Front Line in 2008, joining 814 NAS as the Senior Observer and Executive Officer.


In 2010 he moved to London for a staff job within Public Relations for the RN. Here he was involved in many national events including the Royal Wedding, Queen’s Diamond Jubilee, London Olympics 2012 and most enjoyably, the 50th Anniversary of James Bond and the premiere of Skyfall!

Most recently Steve returned to 824 NAS in 2013 as Training Officer, responsible for the management and delivery of aircrew training on Merlin Mk2.


Steve was greeted from his 3000 hour’s flight by 824 NAS Senior Pilot, Lt Cdr Ian MacFarlane, bearing a bottle of Cornwall’s finest champagne and a cake. This was his final flight on 824 Sqn prior to moving on to become the dreaded ‘Trapper’ for Merlin, SKASaC and Avenger Mk1 Observers at Naval Flying Standards Flight.


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