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Wildcat ends a successful year of aviation at BRNC

2 December 2016
One of the Royal Navy’s new Wildcat helicopters has provided an added dimension to the final test of training for around 140 Officer Cadets at Britannia Royal Naval College.

The provision of search and rescue, winching and operational over-watch pushed the Cadets to the limit as they completed a fictional post natural disaster stabilisation exercise.

The Cadets have been operating in picket boats on the Dart for the last two weeks in a pass or fail exercise to earn their place on the parade ground for the final passing-out-parade of the year later this month.

Additional assets, such as the Wildcat operated by 825 Naval Air Squadron, have been brought in to add to the realism of the exercise, which is based on current operations.

BRNC’s Flight Training Officer, Lieutenant (Lt) Tim Curnock said:  “This final exercise has wrapped up a big year of aviation at BRNC, where the links with the Fleet Air Arm have been stronger than ever.

"The helicopters provide a third dimension for the Cadets to consider during their exercise.  Not only are they concentrating on the maritime element of Naval operations, they are also being educated on how and when an aircraft can be their greatest asset.”

This final exercise has wrapped up a big year of aviation at BRNC, where the links with the Fleet Air Arm have been stronger than ever.

Lieutenant Tim Curnock

More than 10 different aircraft types from all three Services have utilised the prime location of Dartmouth for training this year, from the brand new Wildcats to training Squirrels and the mighty Sea King Mark 7. In fact in 2016 the three BRNC Landing Sites have not gone two weeks without one of them being utilised by an aircraft.

Lt Curnock said: “Over 250 future Naval Officers from all branches and staff have been taking airborne this year during the major exercises on Dartmoor and the river, run by BRNC’s Royal Naval Leadership Academy.

"To build awareness of the Fleet Air Arm (FAA), the exciting future ahead with the introduction of the new Aircraft Carriers and the F35 Lightening fast jets, the Officer Cadets have received briefs from junior aircrew students, frontline aviators and through to the head of the FAA himself, Rear Admiral Keith Blount.”

In addition every passing-out-parade has been graced with a flypast or two. The College was also on the flight path for the retiring Sea King helicopters on their final flight over the South West.

BRNC has hosted the Naval Flying Standards Flight annual conference, leadership days for squadrons from both Yeovilton and Culdrose and a suitably explosive Taranto Night Dinner, marking the anniversary of what is still considered to be the FAA’s greatest victory in World War Two.

With plans afoot for the 2017 FAA Commanding Officers conference to be held at the College, 2017 will be prove to be another year of aviation focus at BRNC.

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