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Aircraft Handlers pass out - and join Queen Elizabeth straight away

The newly-qualified Aircraft Handlers celebrate passing out from Culdrose
Newly qualified aircraft handlers have walked straight from the training ground to the deck of HMS Queen Elizabeth – as the aircraft carrier prepares for her maiden deployment.

A class of 20 sailors celebrated the completion of their training at the Royal Naval School of Flight Deck Operations at RNAS Culdrose, Cornwall, on Wednesday.

Six of them are now part of the ship’s company of the nation’s flagship, which sailed from Portsmouth on Saturday to complete final training for her maiden deployment to the Asia-Pacific region with a three-week workout around the UK.

The rest will join HMS Albion, Queen Elizabeth’s sister HMS Prince of Wales and 1700 Naval Air Squadron, which supplies specialist teams of Royal Navy sailors to support ships.

They are all naval airmen and have trained how to safely operate flight decks and manoeuvre aircraft. They also train in rescue and firefighting in case of emergencies. 

They step out of training straight on to flight decks across the fleet and the globe - in ships from the Baltic to Japan. It’s an exciting time for them and we wish them every success

Lieutenant Commander Scott Harding

Lieutenant Commander Scott Harding, the school’s commanding officer, said: “This is a special moment for these newly qualified aircraft handlers, as they head out now to begin their careers in the Royal Navy and put into practice all the skills they’ve worked hard to gain during their time at the school. 

They step out of training straight on to flight decks across the fleet and the globe - in ships from the Baltic to Japan. It’s an exciting time for them and we wish them every success.”

Around 220 sailors from RNAS Culdrose’s 820 and 1700 naval air squadrons with seven Merlin Mk2 helicopters have also joined the carrier strike group, which is taking part in an exercise off Scotland before starting her deployment.

Led by HMS Queen Elizabeth, the task group will then visit 40 nations including India, Japan, Republic of Korea and Singapore in a deployment covering 26,000 nautical miles.

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