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Wildcat ventures to Newcastle for Training & School Visits

Published: 03 Oct 2017

WILDCAT from 815 Naval Air Squadron (NAS) detached two Wildcat HMA2 helicopters along with full engineering support to Newcastle Upon Tyne to conduct training and take the Royal Navy’s newest Helicopter into Schools.


As their Squadron Colleagues from Royal Naval Air Station (RNAS) Yeovilton continue delivering much needed aid in the Caribbean, those in the UK must make sure they keep their skills honed for any eventuality. 


The first training sortie was winching practice with the patrol boat HMS EXAMPLE, which offers a tough proposition for the helicopter crew. Only last week the exact same skills were used to save three lives off the British Virgin Isles, so the relevance of such training could not be clearer.


The aircrew and engineers were based on HMS CALLIOPE for the week, offering a chance to introduce Royal Navy Reservists (RNR) and potential recruits to the latest maritime attack helicopter.


Training sorties were mixed in with a visit to Newcastle Aviation Academy alongside several school visits that included a highlight for one of the aircrew, Lieutenant Commander (Lt Cdr) Graeme McCutcheon as it provided a chance to revisit his old school.


Known affectionately as 'Geordie', 48 year old Graeme was born in Jarrow and grew up on the Hill Park Estate. His mother still lives on the Estate and is much looking forward to seeing him fly overhead on his way to visit Jarrow School.


As a lad Graeme attended Jarrow School, which was then known as Springfield Comprehensive, before a brief stint working at 'International Paints' in Felling. 


It wasn't long before he felt the urge to explore the world as a naval aviator and in September 1990 he joined the Royal Navy.


Numerous deployments all over the world with the mighty Lynx helicopter (that decommissioned In March of this year as the Fleet Air Arm transitioned to Wildcat) have given Graeme a highly enjoyable career so far, and he isn't finished yet.


"It's great coming back up home with a helicopter to show the next generation what they can sign up for. 


"I've had so many adventures flying with the Navy and I hope our trip might inspire some of the students to join up as sailors, aviators or engineers."


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