SAR flyers reach big milestones
A Pair of Aviators serving with 771 (Search and Rescue) Naval Air Squadron based at Royal Naval Air Station Culdrose are celebrating after chalked-up two significant ‘high points’ in their flying careers.
Lieutenant Commander Paul Robertson, who serves as an Observer with the Fleet Air Arms SAR Unit has clocked up 4000 flying hours; which equates to over 166 days airborne over a 30 year career in the Royal Navy.
Born in Scotland, Paul joined the Royal Navy in 1985 lives in Helston near the West Cornwall Naval Base with his wife Lynsey and three sons; Jake, Joshua and Jamie and has flown for the vast majority of his service life.
“I am delighted to have achieved this significant flying achievement,” said Lt Cdr Paul Robertson. “Even though I will be soon bringing down the curtain on my career, I am finishing it by doing what I thoroughly enjoy, flying”.
The other Culdrose aviator to reach a significant achievement in his flying career is Flight Lieutenant Jon Owen, on exchange from the RAF with 771 NAS, who has now attended over 400 Search and Rescue ‘Shouts’ in his flying career. Jon has been with the Squadron since 2011 and has a wide range of SAR experience across the RAF around theUKand whilst serving in the Falkland Islands, as part of theUnited Kingdom’s operational commitment to theSouth Atlantic.
Born in Denmark into a service family, Jon followed in his father’s footsteps and enlisting with the RAF as a pilot. One of his most interesting and unique SAR shouts took place at Culdrose last October, when he was called out to a pregnancy on the Isles of Scilly. “On that particular shout, we ending up with a very special passenger,” said Jon. “The weather was not good and we had to concentrate on identifying landmarks on the low level route approaching the Malpas relief landing site to meet the Ambulance. It was when the cries from the rear of the cabin stopped, there was a period of quiet and then the rear crew said we had an extra passenger; that I realised a baby (Marcus) had been safely delivered.”
Both Paul and Jon are expected to remain with 771 NAS until after the handover of the United Kingdom’s SAR responsibility to the Department for Trade appointed contractor, currently scheduled for 31 Dec 2015 and the retirement of the Sea King HU Mk 5 SAR scheduled for 31st March 2016.