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Excellence abounds as Air Engineers of the future qualify

28 March 2017
Bright young service men and women from Royal Naval Air Station (RNAS) Yeovilton recently marked the successful completion of their training to become competent Royal Navy Air Engineering Technicians (AET’s) and Survival Equipment Maintainers.

The newly qualified AET’s and Maintainers stood proud as they shared their success with family members  honoured guests and entered the Fleet Air Arm family at RNAS Yeovilton.  

Passing them for duty and presenting their certificates was the Guest of Honour, Commodore (Cdre) David Elford BSc MSc MA CEng FRAeS MIET, and Naval Regional Commander Eastern England. Having joined the Royal Navy in 1981 and as a former Chief Engineer for the Royal Navy it was a particularly special honour for Cdre Elford to address those newly qualified, their families, friends and distinguished guests.

He said, “As a former Chief Air Engineer for the Royal Navy and as the Commandant of the Defence College of Technical training in my previous job, it gives me a huge amount of pride (as well as pleasure) to join in the celebration of what will be a significant milestone in the professional careers of this most recent cadre of Air Engineering Technicians and Survival Equipment maintainers.

"It is an honour and a privilege to have been asked to be the Guest of Honour and I very much enjoyed talking to the former trainees.”

It is an honour and a privilege to have been asked to be the Guest of Honour and I very much enjoyed talking to the former trainees

Commodore David Elford, Naval Regional Commander Eastern England (NRCEE)

As we approach the Lynx Mk8 out of service date on 31 March 2017 Cdre Elford remarked on why being asked to be guest of honour RNAS Yeovilton was particularly special to him at this time.

He added, “It is also quite a poignant day for me since I started my own professional career as an Air Engineer Officer on the Lynx aircraft in 815 Naval Air Squadron and, about 4 years ago, I led the Lynx and Wildcat Project Team in what was to be my last job where I was directly involved in aircraft.

“As I near the end of my own career in the Royal Navy, I can’t but help to reflect upon how exciting times are for the Fleet Air Arm.  In the last few years, we have replaced or enhanced every mark of aircraft in our inventory and, of course, later this year, we will see the first of our two new aircraft carriers enter her home port of Portsmouth and, in parallel, our new jets.”    

During the Phase 2b 55 week course these competent AET trainees undergo 8 weeks of classroom instruction on mechanical and avionic systems, common practices and documentation processes for helicopters. The remaining time is spent on a training squadron where they are introduced to helicopter operations and maintenance practices.

Commander (Cdr) Jo Deakin CEng FIMechE RN, Commanding Officer of the Air Engineering Department (AED) at Yeovilton congratulated those qualifying and added, “The success of these young men and women is in no small part thanks to the support of their friends and families. Thank you.”

Amongst the awards presented are the Academic Award to the student who has achieved the best results during their training; The Ethos Award for spirit, loyalty, respect, sense of humour and determination during training and the Survival Equipment (SE) Section Neptune award is presented to the individual who has demonstrated the most professional, mature and determined attitude alongside the highest standard of proficiency.

The recipient for the Wildcat Academic was AET Andrew Ozouf and he said, “I feel brilliant. Very proud. Today sees the end of training but the beginning of my career”

Able Rate (SE) Louise Myers was presented with the Neptune Award (SE). Louise was “over the moon” she added, “I feel very proud, we knew about the awards but obviously not who was receiving them. I am excited about my career in the Royal Navy but right now I want to enjoy this ”

All present were treated to a Lynx Flypast and a Commando Helicopter Force role demonstration and when the formalities had been dispensed with the happy, relieved and smiling newly qualified Royal Navy personnel joined their families, instructors, guest of honour and industry guests to celebrate their success and achievements over lunch.

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