New head of the Fleet Air Arm’s Reserve

The Royal Naval Reserve Air Branch formally handed over to a new leader at a small ceremony at Royal Naval Air Station Yeovilton Somerset.

On 1st January 2015 Commander Barney Wainwright RNR assumed the duties of Head of the Air Branch (HAB) from Commander Justin Wood RNR.

As the Fleet Air Arm’s Reserve Unit the RNR Air Branch is formed exclusively of ex-regular men and women, integrated as part-timers into all areas of naval aviation.

Cdr Wood, who works as a Search and Rescue pilot for Bond Offshore Helicopters has enjoyed his position as HAB for the past three years and is pleased that the Air Branch is growing and relevant for the future with new aircraft and the Queen Elizabeth Class of aircraft carriers coming into service.

The Unit is very broad in spectrum from Engineering to Aircrew and all the specialisations that support flying aircraft from ships.

Commander Justin Wood RNR

 “It’s been an exciting period for me to lead this rather unique body of men and women who are passionate about Naval Aviation,” said Cdr Justin.

“The Unit is very broad in spectrum from Engineering to Aircrew and all the specialisations that support flying aircraft from ships.

“ It’s also rather special for me actually to handover to Barney with whom I joined the Navy back in 1977.”

Taking over as HAB, Cdr Wainwright, who has a civilian job as an airline captain for Flybe, is proud to have been chosen to lead the Air Branch at an exciting time for the Royal Navy’s Fleet Air Arm.

“There are over 360 in the Air Branch now and this number is set to grow in line with the Reserve Forces vision for 2020.

“Our people are embedded in support of every area across the FAA, whether that is a squadron, control tower, workshops or other unit.

“As a command it is comparable in size to a frigate or destroyer or a large Squadron.

“It’s a tremendous privilege to be the head of this unique and very capable organisation and I’m really looking forward to the challenge as HAB.”

Cdr Barney becomes HAB as the Air Branch celebrates 35 years since it’s formation in 1980 as an aircrew officer Branch and 21 years since it expanded to include all FAA rating specializations.

The Air Branch is proud of its history of delivering Experience in Reserve for the Fleet Air Arm wherever there is aviation business in the Navy.