Navy fast jet pilot wins prestigious award
The Commanding Officer of 736 Naval Air Squadron from Royal Naval Air Station Culdrose has been awarded the Cobham Trophy.
Lieutenant Commander Tim Flatman received the prestigious Trophy at a special Taranto night dinner held at Navy Command Headquarters in Portsmouth, which commemorates the famous action against a much superior Italian Fleet in the Mediterranean during WW2.
The Trophy is awarded annually to the Fleet Air Arm Fixed Wing Pilot who has made the most outstanding contribution to the development or delivery of maritime aviation.
Lt Cdr Flatman’s citation for the award highlighted his work as CO of 736 NAS from its transition as a civilian operated unit to standing-up as the Royal Navy’s only Fast Jet Squadron.
Once 736 was established as a Naval Air Squadron, his job was to build suitable training for the small but important cadre of Naval pilots, whilst integrating the remaining civilian pilots into the newly formed outfit.
Part of the Citation read:“That this was carried out whilst conducting a root and branch review of RN Hawk operations and continuing to deliver high levels of output to train the fleet, is testament to his energy, professionalism and leadership.
“The transition from FRADU to 736 NAS has not been an easy one; he has had to deal with complex contractual negotiations and significant cultural resistance to change.
“Simply put, Lt Cdr Flatman grasped the nettle and turned around the unit, transforming it into a Naval Air Squadron that began to operate to the very highest standards expected of the Naval Service.
“Whilst this has undoubtedly been a whole ship, collective effort; civilian and military alike, it has only been possible through the leadership, diplomatic skill and enthusiasm of the Commanding Officer.”
The Royal Navy Fixed Wing pilot cadre is spread across 2 continents, flying in some challenging scenarios, embarked and ashore ensuring that the Service is ready to deliver The Queen Elizabeth carriers and Joint Lightning Force.
Rear Admiral Russ Harding OBE, Assistant Chief of Naval Staff (Aviation & Carriers) said: “Whilst this myriad of activity affords the opportunity for many Naval Fast Jet aviators to shine, Lt Cdr Flatman has risen above his peers through his tireless personal contribution, delivering unprecedented change, invaluable training to the fleet and building a home for Royal Navy Fast Jet Operations that the Fleet Air Arm can be rightly proud.
“Lt Cdr Flatman is fully deserving of this formal recognition and award of the Cobham Trophy for his outstanding contribution to both the development and delivery of maritime aviation.”