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Lt Bell and Tom Charnley
Lt Bell and Tom Charnley
Lt Bell and Romaan Sarwar

Lufton college visits Yeovilton

Published: 23 Jul 2013

Enthusiastic students from Lufton College for Further Education in Yeovil reached for the sky on a recent visit to Royal Naval Air Station Yeovilton as part of the College’s Activity Week. 

Activity Week is an annual event during which students at the residential establishment – one of three across the UK that collectively form the Mencap National College - can broaden their horizons and experience different aspects of working life. 

815 NAS hosted the nine students and accompanying six staff from the College as they embarked on a packed day of activities across the Lynx Wildcat Maritime Force. After being welcomed by the Commanding Officer of 815, Commander Al Haigh, the visitors met their host for the day, Lieutenant Rich Bell, and were briefed on the role of the Lynx aircraft based on Royal Naval ships all over the world. 

Students Tom Charnley and Romaan Sarwar bravely volunteered to act as models and were dressed in full flying equipment, including  lifejackets - which were then inflated much to the surprise and merriment of the audience! Sam Hyman then assisted in demonstrating the operation of the aircrew survival life raft. 

Time to see the real thing, and the group headed outside to have a look around the Lynx Mk8 helicopter and take the opportunity to sit in the pilot’s and observer’s seats, taking the controls. 

After becoming familiar with the aircraft it was time to see what it was like to fly! It was off to the Lynx Full Mission Simulator facility for what proved to be the highlight of the day for many of the visitors – a chance to ‘fly’ in the Lynx around a perfectly simulated likeness of the Yeovil area. 

With time both inside the simulator and in the control room, the students were shown the full capabilities of the aircraft and simulator, flying by day and night, in all weather conditions, and in formation with other aircraft. 

The Lufton visitors finished off their busy day with a personalised tour of the Fleet Air Arm museum taking in the Museum’s many highlights including Concorde and the Carrier Experience with Royal Navy veteran Chief Petty Officer Stu Rainsbury. 

Cdr Al Haigh said “It was fantastic to be able to welcome Lufton College to 815 Squadron and show them how we operate here at Yeovilton. I hope the students enjoyed their time with us and hopefully this will be the beginning of a fruitful relationship between the Squadron and the College.”


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