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Flying Engineer Soars to One Thousand Hours

Published: 04 Nov 2017

We all know that Pilots fly and that Observers are the tactical wizards in Royal Navy helicopters, but flying engineers? That is a rarity. In the Royal Navy there are a number of engineers that have successfully completed flying training and been presented with their ‘Wings’. Their role is to test-fly the Navy’s aircraft following a period of maintenance. Most are engineer pilots, so they fly the aircraft, but a very few are Observers. One of them is Lieutenant Craig Jordan, a Maritime Test Observer, one of only five in the RN and the only one currently flying. Craig has just clocked up one thousand hours of flying.


Craig’s job is to ensure that the helicopters’ weapons and sensors are functioning correctly. Much of this work can be done on the ground, but certain aspects need to be completed in the air. In order to achieve the role successfully, the engineer needs to know exactly how the systems work and how they are used, hence the requirement for him to be a fully trained and experienced observer.


Before becoming a Maritime Test Observer, (MTO) his aircrew time was spent flying the distinctive Sea King Mk7 Airborne Surveillance and Controlhelicopters, (SKASaC), serving on the front line with 857 NAS and 849 NAS. This included tours in Afghanistan and the Middle East.


Craig is an engineer first and foremost. He loves flying, but fixing aircraft is his passion. The highlight of his career so far is just doing his job, ‘I just love providing serviceable aircraft to the front line. I am really pleased to reach the milestone of one thousand hours. Not many MTOs fly that much’. After his tour as a MTO, he will return to largely keeping his feet on the ground and hopefully be the lead air engineer in one of the squadrons based at Culdrose.


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