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Royal Naval Reserve Pilot’s Swan Song Flight with Rear Admiral

Royal Naval Reserve Pilot’s Swan Song Flight with Rear Admiral
17 February 2023
HMS Pegasus pilot, Lieutenant Commander Steve McArdell flew his final flight in the Royal Naval Reserve in formation with former flying student, Rear Admiral Rimington.

Retiring in March 2023 at the age of 60, after a combined total of 40 years’ service in the Royal Naval Reserve and Royal Navy, Lt Cdr Steve McArdell flew his final flight in service with RAdm Anthony Rimington. Anthony was the first student he taught on Elementary Flying Training back in 1998. RAdm Rimington recently took his appointment as the Royal Navy’s Director of Strategy and Policy and Assistant Chief of the Naval Staff in November 2022.

Steve joined the Royal Navy as a Weapons Electrical Artificer in 1983 before passing out as an Officer at BRNC Dartmouth in 1986. On completion of flying training, Steve went on to fly Sea King helicopters with 819 Naval Air Squadron at Royal Naval Air Station Prestwick in Ayrshire, then 814 NAS at Royal Naval Air Station Culdrose in Cornwall & 826 NAS E Flt at RAF Boscombe Down, Wiltshire. After a stint with the MOD Procurement Executive working at Westlands on the Merlin Project, and then 810 NAS, Steve flew as a Maintenance Test Pilot at RNAS Culdrose. Towards the end of his career in the Royal Navy, he became a Qualified Flying Instructor teaching on the Slingsby Firefly at the Joint Elementary Flying Training School, RAF Barkston Heath, Lincolnshire.

On leaving the Royal Navy in 2001, Steve started a career as a Commercial Airline Pilot, flying passenger jets with British Airways, including the Bae 146/Avro RJ, Boeing 777 and 787 Dreamliner. He also joined the Royal Naval Reserve Air Branch and has flown the Grob Tutor fixed wing aircraft on 727 NAS since 2005. The squadron was initially based at Plymouth airport before moving to Royal Naval Air Station Yeovilton in 2007.

Steve’s Swan Song flight was piloting ade Havilland Canada DHC-1 Chipmunk, while Anthony flew in formation in a Stinson Reliant. The historic Royal Naval aircraft were courtesy of Navy Wings based at RNAS Yeovilton. After an impressive flying display, RAdm Rimington and 727 NAS CO, Lt Cdr Jason Flintham presented Steve with leaving gifts.

Lieutenant Commander Steve McArdell said, “Joining the Royal Naval Reserves gave me the opportunity to pursue a second career in civilian aviation whilst maintaining my links with the Fleet Air Arm, it has been a joy to fly with young people considering a career in the Fleet Air Arm and to pass on my experience to those just starting theirs.”

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