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Cdr Bing returns from a successful sortie over Afghanistan during his time with the Naval Strike Win

Veteran Harrier pilot helps rebirth of flying at RAF airbase

Published: 23 Jan 2015

From Navy News

One of the Royal Navy’s most experienced fast-jet pilots will help bring flying back to an RAF airbase.

Cdr Neil Bing, who has two decades’ experience on Harriers behind him, will take over as Officer in Charge of Flying – equivalent to Commander Air (aka Wings) at RN air stations – at RAF Wittering.

ONE of the Royal Navy’s most experienced fast-jet pilots will help bring flying back to an RAF airbase.

Cdr Neil Bing, who has two decades’ experience on Harriers behind him, will take over as Officer in Charge of Flying – equivalent to Commander Air (aka Wings) at RN air stations – at RAF Wittering.

The base, just off the A1 north of Peterborough, was the home of Harrier training for both the Fleet Air Arm and RAF in the jump jet’s final years of service – with a then Lt Cdr ‘Bing Bong’ Bing as senior pilot of 20(R) Squadron for the aircraft’s 40th anniversary in 2009.

Since the legendary fighter-bomber was retired in 2010, the station has become home to numerous RAF and other MOD support units, but military flying ceased.

From February, however, full-time flying return as four squadrons and one air experience flight move into the Cambridgeshire base.

Cdr Bing works for No. 3 Flight Training School, an RAF organisation which is responsible for all Elementary Flying Training for the Royal Navy, Army and Royal Air Force.

Working between RAF Cranwell and Wittering, the naval pilot will oversee the flying dimension of the Cambridgeshire airfield’s return to routine aviation and define those all important procedures that ensure aircraft safety in the air and on the ground.

By the end of June 2015 around 25 Grob Tutor aircraft will be based at Wittering, the first of the trainers arriving during the first week of February, the last landing in June.

“This is a rare privilege. To reintroduce flying to a Station and set the tone for flying operations,” said Cdr Bing.

“It’s good to be back at Wittering, but the reintroduction of flying is a serious task so there’s very little time for nostalgia.”

RAF Wittering Station Commander, Gp Capt Damian Alexander added: “Neil certainly has his work cut out but his knowledge and experience, combined with his familiarity with RAF Wittering, are huge assets in the task ahead.

“Safety is everything – in the air and on the ground. Flight safety is only achieved when the proper foundations are put in place; the team here at RAF Wittering has prepared the ground thoroughly, and I am certain they will continue to provide a safe flying environment.”

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