Fleet Air Arm four achieve coveted Navy wings

Three Pilots and one Observer from 825 Naval Air Squadron (NAS) have earned their Wings and joined the Fleet Air Arm family at Royal Naval Air Station (RNAS) Yeovilton.

By completing operational training on the Royal Navy’s newest helicopter Wildcat HMA2, four students, part of the Wildcat Operational Conversion Course, were presented with the coveted Royal Navy wings badges by Rear Admiral Paul Bennett CB OBE, Commander UK Maritime Force on their squadron based at Royal Naval Air Station (RNAS) Yeovilton in Somerset.

RAdm Bennett told them: "It’s a huge privilege as an aviator myself to be here today. Not only is in a momentous occasion for these 4 individuals but their families too.

"For 104 years Naval aviators have led the way and now you are a lifelong member of a great club. I wish you every success as you make the transition into front line operational capability, out there striving and achieving excellence.”

The Wildcat is the latest and greatest of military helicopters to be brought in to the Fleet Air Arm and 825 NAS is delivering first class training to aircrew and engineers while generating front line Wildcat flights in support of operations worldwide.

Who wouldn’t want to take a helicopter on board a warship, doing their dream the job while travelling the world?

Lieutenant James Burrows

Lieutenant (Lt) James Burrows joined the Royal Navy in April 2007 as a Warfare Officer but had since the age of 10 wanted to be a Naval aviator said wearing his Wings with pride on his sleeve: “I have always loved aviation and dreamt of becoming a pilot from a very young age. Naval aviation has always fascinated me.

"Today is the end of a very long journey and a dream that has become a reality. I feel extremely proud and privileged to belong to the Fleet Air Arm and all that now allows me to achieve.

"Who wouldn’t want to take a helicopter on board a warship, doing their dream the job while travelling the world?”

During the ceremony, Air Engineering Technician (AET) Harry Sheeran (21) was presented with the ‘Live Your Life Award’, presented on behalf of Mr Keith Knowles given to him for the significant contribution he made as an engineer embarked in RFA Argus.

Always striving for new challenges and at ease with flight deck operations and life on board; he reduced the workload of his Leading Hands by assisting with training of more junior AET’s and Phase 2B trainees on embarked operations.

The parade was the ideal opportunity for Chief Petty Officer James Bottomley to be awarded The Long Service and Good Conduct Medal (LSGC) having completed 15 years in the RN joining 27 May 2002.

Families watched with pride as loved ones were welcomed into Fleet Air Arm family and personnel’s outstanding achievements recognised.

Commanding Officer of 825 NAS Commander Simon Collins said: “The course these aviators have completed is challenging from the outset and as only the third group to ever undertake this course the challenge has been even greater.

"Congratulations and welcome to a unique club.”