15 Royal Naval Aircraft Handlers pass out of training
Fifteen Royal Naval recruits passed out of training and into the Fleet Air Arm today as fully qualified Aircraft Handlers at a ceremony held at the Royal Naval School of Flight Deck Operations (RNSFDO) at RNAS Culdrose, Helston, Cornwall.
The recruits started their course on 17 October 2011 and during their time at RNSFDO have learned how to safely move aircraft on a ships flight deck and how to fight fires both ashore in domestic and aircraft emergencies and on board Royal Navy ships. While some theory work is carried out in classrooms, the course can be fairly intense at times with some of the practical training being very hard physical work, especially the aircraft fire fighting aspect of the course much of which is carried out at Predannack Airfield on The Lizard.
Now, 40 weeks later, these fifteen young men have proudly passed into the Royal Navy watched by their families and friends and the instructors and staff from RNSFDO who have worked with them during their training. In an aircraft hangar at the ‘Dummy Deck’, a training area at Culdrose that is laid out as a mock up of an aircraft carrier flight deck, against a back ground of a Harrier jump jet aircraft and a Naval Fire Fighting Vehicle, the Guest of Honour at the ceremony, Captain Entwisle OBE RN, the Commanding Officer of RNAS Culdrose awarded certificates and badges to the Naval Airmen (NA) and two trophies. The Brian Marsden Memorial Trophy was presented to NA Jake Adams for being the best student on the aircraft handling phase of the course.
The Special Endeavour Award goes to the student whose personal achievement has been the greatest and on this occasion The Captain presented it to NA Dean Grindley.
The Peter Veevers Memorial Trophy was presented to NA David Hood for being the best student on the fire fighting phase of the course. This award was presented by Jackie Meyers, the sister of Peter Veevers, an Aircraft Handler who tragically died in 1976.
Following the passing in ceremony the Naval Airman changed from Number One uniforms into their working rig to give a demonstration of how aircraft are moved around a ships flight deck as they are prepared for take off. This was followed by another change of clothes; into their protective fire fighting equipment and the Naval Airmen then demonstrated how to fight a domestic fire.
NA Matt Probert aged 24 from Redruth is a proud third generation member of the Fleet Air Arm, his father Nick Probert has been in for 34 years and his grandfather Tom served for 37 years. Matt said: “I feel much prouder passing out here than at HMS Raleigh because here I feel I have accomplished something in training for a job.”
NA Tom Scott aged 22 from Holyhead, North Wales said. “I am very happy that I joined the Royal Navy and couldn’t imagine being in a branch other than Aircraft Handler.”
The NAs quoted above stated that they are looking forward to getting involved in some of the sports and adventure training activities that the RN has to offer, as they haven’t had the time to do so during their busy training programme.
Following this special day in their new careers, the Naval Airman, will now go to Fire Stations at RNAS Culdrose and RNAS Yeovilton for a month of on job training before being drafted into the Fleet to put their training into practice.