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Above the Clouds

RAFFCA Chairman

Gp Capt Al Seymour MA BSc (Hons) FRAeS FCMI QWI CFS RAF

Group Captain Seymour - Chairman

From an early age Gp Capt Seymour was keen to be involved in aviation with his first flying aged 7 in his father’s Piper Super Cub. He completed a RAF Flying Scholarship on leaving school and between 1986 to ‘89 he studied at Manchester University as an RAF sponsored student and University Air Squadron member. Whilst there he competed at national level in downhill dry and winter snow skiing. After completing his degree in Materials Science and Engineering Metallurgy, he passed out from RAF Officer training in 1989. He was one of just a handful of annual students to be selected for the Euro NATO Joint Jet Pilot Training Programme, and subsequently spent just over a year being trained to fly Fast Jets by the USAF in Texas. Upon his return to the UK in 1991, he completed UK orientation and was posted to the Tornado F3 Air Defence Force. Winner of the fighter pilot trophy for 1992, he subsequently spent 4 years at RAF Leeming, flying on all 3 Tornado squadrons there. He completed the Qualified Weapons Instructor course between 1996-97, and subsequently served at RAF Coningsby as a frontline weapons instructor until 1999. During his time on the F3 force he accumulated many Operational missions during the Balkans conflicts and whilst on deployed to the Falkland Islands.

Posted to exchange duties, he served with the Royal Australian Air Force on No’s 2 and 3(F) Sqn at RAAF Base Williamtown, flying the F/A-18 Hornet for 3 years. As a frontline weapons instructor during this tour, he was awarded a Commendation for services to the RAAF by the Air Officer Commanding Tactical Fighter Group. On return to the UK late in 2001, he was posted to the emergent Eurofighter Operational Evaluation Unit (OEU), which was soon to become No 17(R) Sqn – the Typhoon OEU. As a formative member of the ‘Case White’ Team at BAE Systems Warton, he spent 3 years embedded with Industry specifically involved with Typhoon Flight Test. Re-mustering as the XO in 2005, he moved with the Sqn to RAF Coningsby and spent more than 2 years conducting both Developmental and Operational test on Typhoon culminating in its operational declaration in July 2007. Promoted to Wg Cdr in 2007, he attended the UK Joint Services College Staff Course graduating in Jul 2008, as a distinguished graduate and Fujitsu prize winner; concurrently he completed a Masters Degree in Strategic Planning and Defence management. He subsequently was posted to the central staffs within the Capability Theatre Airspace department as the Counter Air Threat Desk Officer. Assuming Command of no. 29(R) Sqn the Typhoon OCU – he developed a new core trg syllabus which saw trainees fly their first Typhoon sortie solo after an Immersive Simulator Phase enhancing synthetic delivery. During this intensive period he also delivered Operationally for National QRA and in support of Op ELLAMY and accelerated OCU output delivering 30% more pilots than originally planned, affording Force growth ahead of schedule and gaining qualification as an A2 QFI in the process. He deployed on Operations to Afghanistan in January 2012, and upon return took post as Gp Capt Operations within the Air Warfare Centre. Responsible for a broad portfolio from delivering Air Doctrine and post graduate Air Warfare Trg, Operational Advice to the Warfighter through to the conception and implementation of a new Integrated Mission Support process for the wider community. Similarly he was responsible for the establishment of a permanent SPECAP management cell working in a federated manner with the CAP areas.

Married to Keren with 2 daughters Abigail (14) and Olivia (13), he remains a keen private aviation enthusiast, holding the Chair of the Royal Air Force Flying Clubs’ Association and maintaining a Civil Airline Transport Pilots Licence. He has amassed a total of over 3400 hours flight time with more than 2500 on fast jets. His other interests include personal fitness trg, mainly focussing on road cycling and he still enjoys odd good book to relax!

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