On 15th November 2018, the rotary element of the UK Military Flying Training System (MFTS) achieved the auspicious milestone of 10,000 flying hours, using a fleet of 29 Juno and 3 Jupiter helicopters. Both helicopter types commenced training delivery in April 2018 at RAF Shawbury and RAF Valley. As part of the UKMFTS, they are used to train military helicopter aircrew from the Royal Navy, British Army and Royal Air Force.
The 10,000th hour was marked with a special ceremony at RAF Shawbury as one of the Juno helicopters, flown by Group Captain Chuck Norris, Station Commander of RAF Shawbury and Commandant of the Defence Helicopter Flying School returned from a sortie, achieving the 10,000th flying hour whilst airborne.
Group Captain Chuck Norris said: “This is an important milestone in the project and testament to the co-operation and strengthening relationship with our partners Ascent and Airbus. The Juno and Jupiter are a step change from the previous Squirrel and Griffin training helicopters. Both helicopters now offer our trainees greater insight into multi-engine, glass cockpit helicopter operations and avionics systems usage, better preparing them to join front-line operations in similarly equipped aircraft, whilst increasing safety.”
Waiting to greet him on the ground to make a formal presentation were Air Commodore Simon Edwards, the UKMFTS Programme Director and Mr Matthieu Louvot, the Airbus Global Executive Vice President Customer Support and Services.
Air Commodore Simon Edwards said: “I am delighted to see 10,000 hours being achieved so quickly and I congratulate all those who have made it happen. This is still only the beginning, with much more to come from our world-class Flying Training System.”
Ascent Flight Training Managing Director, Tim James said: “10,000 flying hours is a milestone that is made more significant because it has been achieved in such a short period since the rotary wing element of UK MFTS achieved contract award in May 2016. This reflects the tremendous effort and close working relationships between all parties from the early procurement activities, to when the joint Military/Ascent Fielding Team first flew the aircraft at Airbus’s facility at Oxford in January 17, and now right through to delivery today. Ascent looks forward to continuing this relationship in all its activities in the future in support of UKMFTS.”
The Managing Director of Airbus Helicopters UK Mr Colin James said:
"The H135 (Juno) and H145 (Jupiter) are ideally suited for this long-term, high-tempo operation. Nevertheless, delivering this capability is only possible thanks to the close and cooperative relationship with Ascent and the MOD. Being here today to mark the 10,000 flight hours milestone underlines how well the teams and the aircraft are working together"