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Culdrose Aircrewman reaches flying milestone

Culdrose Aircrewman reaches flying milestone
21 November 2017
An Aircrewman from 829 Naval Air Squadron (NAS) based at RNAS Culdrose has reached a significant milestone in his aviation career by clocking up 1,000 flying hours.

Petty Officer Russ Stone joined the Royal Navy in 1999 as a chef and spent eight years working in ships’ galleys before transferring to the Aircrewman branch in 2007.

He reached his 1,000 hours whilst supporting HMS St Albans on tasking around the United Kingdom.

PO Stone said, ‘To reach this milestone, is a high watermark in my career. It is a chance to reflect on many hours spent flying with some brilliant crews, in some amazing places in the world doing what I consider to be the best job in the Royal Navy’.

“I made the decision to become an Aircrewman after eight enjoyable years as a chef as I felt I needed a new set of challenges. In the last 10 years I have almost lost count of the amount of exercises, operations and deployments I have been involved in.

“It is a cliché to say but it really is true that every day is different and I can honestly say I have enjoyed every second of it. I am very proud of the job I do and look forward to the next 1,000 hours airborne.’

I made the decision to become an Aircrewman after eight enjoyable years as a chef as I felt I needed a new set of challenges

Petty Officer Russ Stone, Aircrewman 829 NAS

As well as this achievement PO Stone cites working with the US Navy as one of his career highlights.

He said, “I was on the Auriga 10 deployment in the United States as a fresh faced Aircrewman on HMS Ark Royal. Other highlights for me would also include Op Weald where we were tasked to assist in the migrant crisis in the Mediterranean and the current tasking where I am using all my anti-submarine warfare skills, operating from and with a Type 23 frigate.”

The role of Aircrewman is very demanding, exciting and varied. No two days are the same. Your office may well be a Merlin helicopter.

The main role is to hunt for submarines, but also to performing secondary roles such a load lifting and winching.

Originally you could not join directly as an Aircrewman, but instead had to be selected once you had proved yourself in another branch. 

Now young people can join and train as an Aircrewman straight from ‘civvy-street’, with training taking around two and half years.

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