Culdrose Aviator Walking Cornish Coast Path for Mental Health Charity
In his day job, Lieutenant Andy Bailey teaches military personnel to fly Unmanned Air Systems (UAS). But later this month, he has decided to use some of his Christmas leave to walk the southern section of Cornwall Coast path for charity, walking from Plymouth to Land’s End in just seven days.
Andy has chosen two charities to support, Cancer Research UK, as this has affected a member of his family recently, and Mental Health UK, something that has had an impact on him personally. He is keen to raise awareness of mental health issues, especially among young men and also those in the military, and raise money for these two very worthy charities.
Andy will be walking 150 miles and climbing approximately 11,000m (one and quarter times the height of Mount Everest) in just in 7 days. He will start at Plymouth on 16th December and finish at Land’s End on 22 December. He is walking solo, staying in local B and Bs and Inns on the way. The Little Harbour Guest House in Looe and the Mevagissey Bay Hotel have both given him a free bed for the night; their way of supporting the worthy charities. In true military style, he has planned thoroughly. He has ‘recced’ some of the route and been training hard for the walk by trekking along the coast path. While going along the coast path near Culdrose, he will be joined by some of his work mates from 700X Naval Air Squadron. They hope to film him using their one of their UAS.
When Andy is not preparing for his hike, he trains military personnel to fly UAS. Being a Naval Aviator he knows all about flying, the rules and regulations and what can affect any airframe. Andy said:
‘You need to know all about Air Traffic Control regulations, the weather as well as how to fly the system. It’s not a lot different in many respects to flying a helicopter!’
He has all the experience necessary. As a Sea King Mk7 Airborne Surveillance and Control Observer or ‘Bagman’ as they are known, he has had a wealth of experience. While on front line duties he has worked in Afghanistan, the Arabian Gulf and Mediterranean. His role at 700X NAS is to train the future pilots of the UAS, develop the their employability and evaluate trials.
‘I am really looking forward to the walk. I wanted to challenge myself, to do something for others. I also wanted to let people know that even the strongest people, in what are considered pretty macho jobs, can find themselves suffering mentally.’
We wish Andy all the best and hope to share his route with you on the Culdrose Facebook Page and Twitter.