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Capt Mark Garratt presenting John Adams with a retirement present
750 NAS King-Air Avenger taxi’s in after John Adam’s last flight
King-Air Avenger with John Adam at the controls

Veteran aviator retires after 41 year flying career

Published: 19 Jun 2014

A former Royal Navy pilot, serving as a civilian contractor at Royal Naval Air Station Culdrose has retired from flying after an illustrious career spanning over 41 years. 

Mr John Adams, currently employed by Ascent Flight Training, is a pilot on 750 Naval Air Squadron who support the training of Royal Naval Observers. He started flying with the Royal Navy in 1973 and for the majority of his early career flew helicopters including the Wasp,Wessexand Sea King Mk 4. He served on exchange with the Royal New Zealand Air Force flying the Wasp and previously on 750 NAS flying the Jetstream T2 trainer and T3 communications transport aircraft. 

During his flying career since the early 1970s, John has accrued an impressive 10,200 flying hours on fifteen types of aircraft represented in his logbook. Although he retired from the Royal Navy as a Lieutenant Commander in 1996, he has flown as a civilian contractor in support of the Royal Navy almost exclusively ever since. 

“I have thoroughly enjoyed my time flying for the Military and shall be very sad to leave,” said John. “I feel privileged to have worked with some fantastic people and shall miss the unique challenges of Naval Aviation.” 

The Commanding Officer of 750 Naval Air Squadron, Lieutenant Commander Craig Whitson-Fay said: Although John retired from the Navy 18 years ago he still typifies all the characteristics of a Fleet Air Arm Officer; a consummate professional with a ‘can do’ attitude and the ability to maintain a sense of humour when it all goes wrong. John will be missed by all of us on the Squadron but he can rest assured that his legacy will live on in the countless number of Fleet Air Arm Officers that he has trained and influenced over the years.” 

Upon landing on from his last Flight in a new King-Air 350ER ‘Avenger’ of 750 NAS, John was greeted and congratulated by Captain Mark Garratt the Commanding Officer of RNAS Culdrose. Many other well wishers from the Navy’s Cornish Air Station turned up to give John a rousing send off. 

750 NAS has been the home of Observer training for the Royal Navy’s Fleet Air Arm continuously for over 60 years. The training is now managed commercially by Ascent Flight Training, augmented by Royal Navy staff Instructors. A course of four Observer students joins approximately every ten weeks, remaining with the Squadron for sixteen weeks before joining an Operational Conversion Unit to train to Operate Maritime Patrol Helicopters such as Merlin Mk 2, Sea King Mk 5 & 7 or Wildcat.


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