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Lt Ross Gallagher, Lt ‘Tom’ Sawyer  (Course Inst.), Lt Nik Wielbo and SLt Riley Handforth
King Air Avenger of 750 NAS
SLt Riley Handforth and Rear Admiral Keith Blount OBE
Lt Ross Gallagher and Rear Admiral Keith Blount OBE
Lt  Nik Wielbo and Rear Admiral Keith Blount OBE

Three Royal Navy trainee Observers took a big step towards gaining Wings

Published: 26 Oct 2016

Three Royal Navy trainee Observers took a big step towards gaining their Wings at a graduation ceremony on 750 Naval Air Squadron at Royal Naval Air Station Culdrose.


The happy trio, Lieutenants Ross Gallagher, Nik Wielbo and Sub Lieutenant Riley Handforth, successfully completed Observer Basic Flying Training after joining 750 NAS earlier this year. Since then they have flown on the King Air 350ER ‘Avenger’ aircraft, learning its systems and sensors and how to operate in all weathers and environments. Over the past 16 week they have learnt to use state of the art equipment, in both the airborne and ground environments, that is capable of replicating a whole range of front line sensors, such as Radars, Electronic Support Measures and Tactical Data Links, and to employ these in basic tactical scenarios.


They have been taught how to command a crew, operate and deploy an aircraft tactically as well as build on elementary navigation skills they were taught at RAF Barkston Heath and Cranwell in Lincolnshire. They have also learned how to hunt for survivors in the Search and Rescue role and control other aircraft to seek out and find a potential enemy many miles out to sea.


They graduate having flown around 20 hours on the Grob Tutor, 50 hours on the Avenger and countless hours in the ground based training simulators. After 750 NAS they will be streamed to one of the Royal Navy’s maritime helicopter types; Merlin at RNAS Culdrose or Wildcat at RNAS Yeovilton.


““It’s been a really good course, I’ve learnt and really enjoyed it,” said Sub Lieutenant Riley Handforth. “It was challenging, but very rewarding, looking back on what we’ve all achieved. The volume of work and material we have had to cover has really been enormous, bringing together a lot of what we’ve been taught and in very dynamic environment.”


On hand to present course Awards and certificates was Rear Admiral Keith Blount OBE, Head of the Fleet Air Arm. Lt Ross Gallagher Carlisle picked up both the Sir Douglas Evill and the Daedalus Trophies for best overall grades at ground school, simulator and airborne sorties from 750 NAS and the Military Flying Training System (MFTS). And the Westlands Trophy was award to Lt Nik Wielbo.


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