OUTSTANDING ACHIEVEMENT ON NAVAL AIR SQUADRON
ROYAL Navy Flight awarded trophy for outstanding year providing international maritime security.
815 Naval Air Squadron (NAS) Maritime Interdiction (MI) Flight at Royal Naval Air Station (RNAS) Yeovilton maintained an exceptionally high state of readiness, delivering a broad range of capabilities to 815 core business and that of the Surface Flotilla.
Commander Phil Richardson Commanding Officer of 815 NAS said;
“They have consistently punched above their own weight, adding superb resilience to the Lynx Wildcat Maritime Force during the Lynx to Wildcat transition. MI Flight’s conduct has epitomised the values of the Fleet Air Arm, its ‘can do’ attitude has come to the fore when it has most been needed Their positive approach to delivering effect across all spheres and their ability to balance safety, maintenance of core capability, training and standards and considerable extra tasking makes them deserved winners of the Osprey Trophy”.
The Osprey Trophy stands for the foremost mark of commitment and operational achievement on 815 NAS acknowledging the sacrifice made by the crew of 229 Flight operating from HMS Portland in December 2004.”
The Osprey Trophy was commissioned in 2007, in memory of four members of HMS Portland’s Flight who lost their lives in a Lynx helicopter that crashed off the Lizard peninsula in December 2004. The Lynx Wildcat Maritime Force was delighted and honoured to be joined by family members of HMS Portland’s Flight.
Along side the Osprey Trophy a Green Endorsement was awarded to Lieutenant (Lt) Rob Dixon and Lt Amy Gilmore.
On 4 May 2015 Lt Dixon and Lt Gilmore were conducting aviation operations from HMS DRAGON, in their Lynx Mk 8 while flying across the Bay of Biscay. Authorised to fly in challenging weather conditions, the flight was at first uneventful. Part way through the sortie however, it became apparent that part of the aircraft instrumentation had become water logged and was giving false indications in terms of Airspeed.
With no reliable Airspeed Indication, the crew then flew an approach to the Ship but on gaining visual references the aircraft was too fast to land on and the approach was aborted.
During the subsequent approach, and reduced visibility the aircraft lost communications with the Ship. The crew exercised the highest levels of airmanship to safely land on at the end of this approach. The loss of critical flight instruments in poor weather is not an insignificant emergency in itself. However, this occurrence was complicated by the loss of communications in deteriorating weather conditions.
Cdr Phil Richardson said:
“In the finest traditions of the Fleet Air Arm, Lieutenants Dixon and Gilmore are commended for their speed of thought, judgement and the total professionalism with which they dealt with a compounding series of circumstances. For this they are thoroughly deserving of a Green Endorsement.”
The Order of Service on the day included an Act of Remembrance by RNAS Yeovilton Chaplaincy in memory of the Lynx Flight lost in December 2004 and in the presence of family members of those who lost their lives that year off the Lizard peninsula.