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AEO’s course
AEO’s course, LAET’s and AET on parade
Mrs Ali Phesse presenting the John Phesse  Memorial Trophy to Lt Ross Clegg, top student on course
AEO’s Parade RNAS Culdrose
AET Christian Wild, LAET Steven Reeves and LAET Matthew Jones

Air Engineers graduate at Culdrose

Published: 13 Mar 2014

At a ceremony held at Royal Naval Air Station Culdrose, ten Royal Navy Officers have been awarded Air Engineering Certificates of Competency (C of C) to become Air Engineering Officers (AEO’s) 

Passing them for duty and presenting their Certificates was Commodore Malcolm Toy BSc MSc MA CEng FRAeS MIET RN, Senior Air Engineer in the Royal Navy and Head of Regulation and Certification at the Military Aviation Authority. 

The parade marks the final phase of 24 long and arduous months that has seen seven graduate trainees transformed from civilians to AEO’s, capable of joining Fleet Air Arm frontline Sea King and Merlin Squadrons. Beginning their journey atBritanniaRoyalNavalCollege,Dartmouththey completed Initial Naval Training before progressing onto Leadership and Militarisation courses alongside other young Naval Officers. Moving onto Specialist Fleet Time at Sea they embarked on HMS Illustrious for five months, learning how a ship’s Air Engineering Department works and broadening their experience of the maritime environment. 

Following this phase engineering training began in earnest at HMS Sultan near Portsmouth, where the graduates were joined by three Senior Rates who under the Senior Upper Yardsmen (SUY) scheme had chose to become Naval Officers. Ten months at HMS Sultan were spent undergoing the Systems Engineering and Management Course (SEMC), where they learnt generic aircraft technical knowledge as well as wider engineering skills. After SEMC they came to Culdrose and began C of C training, specific technical education, risk management on their specific aircraft and find out how a Naval Air Stations operates. The culmination of their training was an oral board; where they were examined on their knowledge and in some cases lasted up to seven hours! 

“It’s a proud moment for me, seeing them pass out as AEO’s”, said  Commander Nick Bowser who was Commanding Officer of the Air Engineering School at HMS Sultan. “They joined HMS Sultan as two distinct groups but within a short time they gelled as a team. The course is no easy ride and other services are looking at the way we train Air Engineering Officers and learning from us.” 

Awarded the John Phesse Memorial Trophy for best student was Lieutenant Ross Clegg, now one of the Air Engineering Officers on 829 Naval Air Squadron working with Merlin MK 2. “It’s been interesting and challenging and we’ve all learnt a lot about ourselves. It’s an honour to be awarded the John Phesse Trophy and my C of C. One of my jobs on 829 Sqn is the visiting AEO and have the responsibility of visiting the Flights when they deploy; I feel like I’ve won the Lottery, it’s a great job for an AEO”. 

Presentations were also made to Air Engineering Technician (AET) Christian Wild for Trainee of the Year and LAET of the Year for LAET’s Steven Reeves and Matthew Jones.


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