Former Rutland College Student Honoured at RAF Wittering

24 February 2016

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Royal Air Force Wittering engineer and former Casterton pupil and Rutland College student Squadron Leader Andy Wilson won a special commendation on Monday 22 February.

Sqn Ldr Andy Wilson receives his commendation from Air Commodore Damian Alexander

Sqn Ldr Wilson is the Officer Commanding 71 (Inspection and Repair) Squadron, which relocated to Royal Air Force Wittering from the former RAF Station at St. Athan in the Vale of Glamorgan.

The special Royal Air Force 38 Group commendation was awarded in recognition of Andy’s exceptional work in relocating the Royal Air Force’s premier engineering unit whilst maintaining the Squadron’s unique non-destructive testing and aircraft structural repair capabilities.

71 (Inspection & Repair) Squadron is the forefront of Royal Air Force aircraft engineering, schooling engineers from all three services in the deeply complex discipline of non-destructive testing. The Squadron also provides the RAF’s specialist aircraft structural repair service, restoring aircraft to flying condition that have been damaged by bird strike, corrosion, or shrapnel.

A technician using ultrasound equipment during non-destructive testing

In March 2015 technicians from 71 (IR) Squadron assisted in the construction of the Bloodhound Supersonic Car; building the floor and distinctive fin, which sits atop the mighty jet engine that, combined with a cluster of hybrid rockets, will power the vehicle to record breaking speeds.

Returning to RAF Wittering, and presenting the award on behalf of the Air Officer Commanding 38 Group, was former Station Commander Air Commodore Damian Alexander who was Commanding Officer of the A4 Force during 71 Squadron’s relocation.

Air Cdre Alexander said; “Commanding an engineering squadron is a busy enough job as it is, let alone the additional burden of relocating the unit to the other side of the country. Andy has earned his commendation, it is thoroughly merited.”

Squadron Leader Andy WilsonSquadron Leader Wilson said; “It’s always good to be recognised for your work, of course. Relocating the Squadron was a challenge because there were so many factors to consider, most obviously our service and civilian personnel. But 71 (IR) is a focussed team, and we made it work.”

Group Captain Rich Pratley is the Station Commander at RAF wittering. He said; “Andy has done a tremendous amount of work in moving 71 (IR) to Wittering. What’s more, he has completed this projected to a professional standard and kept his Squadron on track throughout. He is an asset to this Station and the Royal Air Force.”

Editor: Ed Palmer


Sqn Ldr Andy Wilson receives his commendation from Air Commodore Damian Alexander.

A technician using ultrasound equipment during non-destructive testing.

© MOD Crown Copyright 2016

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