3000 HOURS FOR TIGER’S HEAD
Boss of the ‘Flying Tigers’, Commander Brendan Spoors has just achieved 3,000 hours airborne - a major milestone for any aviator.
Commander Spoors, Commanding Officer of 814 Naval Air Squadron, also known as ‘The Flying Tigers’, recorded his 3,000th flying hour in one of the Squadron’s Merlin Mk2 helicopters on an exercise in the Mediterranean. Commander Spoors took over command of 814 in July, before deploying with his Squadron and its Merlin aircraft.
814 Naval Air Squadron is currently embarked onboard HMS Ocean as part of the Joint Expeditionary Force - the UK’s very high readiness task force. The 814 personnel have been taking part in Cougar 15 which involved a series of demanding exercises with alliance and other partner nations in the Atlantic and Mediterranean. The deployment culminated in NATO’s flagship ‘Trident Juncture’ exercise which included over 36,000 personnel from over 30 nations - ensuring the group’s readiness for future operations. Cougar is an annual deployment aimed at demonstrating the Royal Navy’s ability to keep Britain safe and improve her economic security by being able to deploy a highly effective maritime force anywhere in the world.
Cdr Spoors was ‘ambushed’ on the quarterdeck of HMS Ocean by members of his squadron and Ocean’s Commanding Officer, Captain Stephen Moorhouse to commemorate the occasion. Captain Moorhouse presented him with a bottle of champagne and said of the event: “To achieve 3,000 hours airborne is a major milestone for any aviator, and one of which you should be justly proud.”
Born and raised in Hartlepool, Brendan joined the Royal Navy in 1996 as a pilot and went on to train on Firefly light aircraft and Squirrel helicopters before converting to the Sea King helicopter and joining his first front line squadron, 819, in 2000. After a brief stint flying from HMS Gannet based at Prestwick inScotland, he converted to the brand new Merlin helicopter in 2002.
Other career highlights include qualifying as an instructor in 2005, serving as the Flight Commander in HMS Richmond, a type 23 frigate, from 2008-2009, and thereafter as Senior Pilot on both 829 and 824 Naval Air Squadrons.
814 Naval Air Squadron is still onboard HMS Ocean, but hopes to be back in Cornwall in time for Christmas.