Flight Engineers

The Flight Engineers

Master Aircrew Rick Gomez

MACr Rick Gomez Rick joined the RAF in 1988 as a Direct Entrant Air Engineer and was subsequently posted to the C130K Hercules at RAF Lyneham. After a tour on 70 Sqn, specialising in low level tactical flying, he completed an instructional tour on the Hercules Operational Conversion Unit.

Following this he was posted to 47 Sqn, where he operated in Iraq, Bosnia, Sierra Leone and Afghanistan.

A tour on VC10 aircraft at RAF Brize Norton saw him specialising in air to air refuelling operations, before returning to RAF Lyneham as the C130K fleet was withdrawn from general service.

He currently serves on 8 Sqn at RAF Waddington, operating the E-3D Airborne Warning And Control System watching over Operations in Libya, Syria and more recently the Ukraine.

Flight Sergeant Mark Fellows MSc BSc

FS Mark Fellows

Mark joined the RAF in 1983 and won the ‘best recruit’ award. He then served a mechanical apprenticeship and graduated with an ONC and a PPL flying award. As groundcrew he was predominantly employed on helicopters in this country, Northern Ireland and the Falkland Islands. Of note was Mark’s first Chinook flight, which crashed - he was lucky to survive with minor injuries.

He later attended further training and gained an HNC. Aged 35, Mark applied to train as a Flight Engineer and was posted to Kinloss on the Nimrod. He has flown operationally on several tours and received a commendation for his part in the rescue of hostages in Afghanistan.

Mark currently works in Test and Evaluation at Waddington. His hobbies include running, walking, swimming and cycling. He has studied part-time and full-time for several years, gaining a BSc and MSc in varied subjects including psychology, biology, mathematics and aerospace systems. However, he misses his previous manual job and so enjoys DIY and being creative.

Flight Lieutenant Nige Painter

Flt Lt Nige Painter Nige joined the RAF as an Engine and Airframe Apprentice – a “Trenchard Brat”. Following training at RAF Halton he spent 4 years on 6 Sqn Jaguars at RAF Coltishall, including exercises in America, Oman, Denmark, France, Gibraltar, Cyprus and Canada. In 1988 he was selected for Air Engineer Training as NCO Aircrew, subsequently being posted to 47 Sqn RAF Lyneham, flying the C130 K Hercules in the tactical role.

Exercises and Ops across the globe followed including OP GRANBY. An instructional role in Low Level and AAR whilst on 30 Sqn was followed by being selected for a post on the Hercules Operational Evaluation Unit, part of an integral team introducing and developing tactics and training for new equipment and defensive aids onto the C130K.

Returning to 47 Sqn supporting Ops in Afghanistan, Iraq and elsewhere has seen him amass 7000+ flying hrs. A keen outdoors man, he is a qualified Combat Survival Rescue Officer and instructs in Desert, Temperate, Jungle and Arctic conditions. In 2007 he became the full time Station Survival officer for RAF Lyneham, completing courses in Norway, Australia and the USA. Following the move to RAF Brize Norton, he also assumed the Survival responsibilities for 2 Gp assets.

Commissioned in 2014, Nige enjoys trekking, bush crafting and leading expeditions, having led with the RAF and significantly with the British Exploring Society in the Indian Himalayas and Norway.

Flight Lieutenant James B Stokes MSc, AFRIN, MIET, MCGI

Jim was brought up on the Wirral and left school in 1985. He gained an apprenticeship and subsequent employment as a maintenance electrician with Ford Motor Company in Liverpool. He joined the RAF in 1991 as an Air Engineer and completed initial training at RAF Swinderby and professional training at RAF Finningley. He completed conversion training at RAF Lyneham and then joined the C130K Hercules fleet on LXX Sqn. He completed just over two tours, working mostly in the tactical role supporting 16 Air Assault Group in heavy large formation air drop. During this period he became a member of the lead crew and a training air engineer. He was promoted to Flight Sergeant and posted to 47 Sqn in 2000.

Jim remained with 47 Sqn for five years supporting global operations. During 2005 he was posted to Station Operations at RAF Lyneham to set up a new position as Wing Electronic Warfare Officer on promotion to Master Aircrew. He returned to 47 Sqn in 2008 as the Air Engineer Leader and Squadron Warrant Officer. He remained until Sep 2011, overseeing the Sqn move to RAF Brize Norton before leaving to attend the Aerosystems Course at RAF Cranwell. Jim completed the course at the Air Warfare School in conjunction with Kingston University, graduating in July 2012 with a Master's degree with commendation in Aerospace Systems. Following the course he was posted back to RAF Brize Norton as the Station Electronic Warfare Officer. After graduating from RAF College Cranwell as a commissioned officer he moved to RAF Coningsby to work on the Typhoon Fighter as a Trials Officer. Returning to Brize Norton at the end of 2015, he has continued to work within the flight trials environment on the new Airbus A400M. He joined the BBMF in April 2013 and became the Air Engineer Leader for the 2015 display season.

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