In the scorching sun on the flight line at RAFC Cranwell 14 pilots stood to attention, separated two metres apart, for an ‘informal’ presentation of their flying Wings by Group Captain Jon Nixon, Commandant 3FTS. The final student joined remotely via Skype link as his wife is in the final stages of pregnancy.
It is often regarded as the pinnacle in an RAF pilots flying career to receive their wings, and this was certainly a day that these 15 students will never forget.
On presiding at the event Group Captain Nixon said:
“Today marks the transition for the graduating pilots out of the flying training system and it is a huge privilege to be able to award the RAF flying badges. I thank the instructors and staff of No 3FTS and L3 Harris at Bournemouth for their hard work and dedication.
“Despite the challenging times that we currently face, it is as important as ever to make sure that we continue to provide trained aircrew to the Royal Air Force Front Line on time and to the highest of standards. I wish the 15 graduating officers the very best of luck for long, successful and safe flying careers."
Each student has successfully completed their Multi-Engine Advanced Flying Training. The graduation was conducted in front of an Embraer Phenom 100, the aircraft that some of the students had trained on for the past 12 months. Others have trained as part of an RAF Outsource initiative conducted by L3, who are based at Bournemouth Airport, flying the Diamond DA42 aircraft.
All the students now progress to their respective Operational Conversion Units where they will receive training on the RAF’s front line aircraft. These will include flying the Hercules at RAF Brize Norton and the Poseidon at RAF Lossiemouth. Each unit will receive students who have been instructed in a plethora of advanced flying techniques ranging from low level flying to flying on airways involving multiple complex emergencies.