A TOUR OF RAF SHAWBURY AIR TRAFFIC CONTROL TRAINING WING, AND THEN THE FLIGHT TRAINING FOLLOWED BY A VISIT TO SPECIAL PROJECT
Today was another one where I would be stepping out of my comfort zone, but more about that later. We arrived at RAF Shawbury and were greeted by base commander Group Captain Luck. He gave us a presentation on how the base has developed and how it has to face up to the cuts everyone is facing up to at the moment. The airbase is home to Air Traffic Training, as well as Helicopter Flight Training, so it is really two bases in one.
We then had a tour of the Air Traffic Control Tower and this showed how large the base really is, we were shown how all air movements in, out and around the base were kept under control andwe watched new trainees learning to control their helicopters, there were at least seven within the area we were watching, all single engines squirrel helicopters.
After our trip to the tower we went to the officers mess for lunch and straight away after we went to a room where I got fitted out with my fliying suite, helmet and gloves I had surdy footwear so that meant I was ready for my first steps to a flight. Safety comes first as always so how to get into the seat around the controls, how to fasten the harness, how to adjust my helmet and visor, then in the event of an emergency etc etc. The base is RAF but it is a tri-service training base, and my flight that I would be flying with was no other than the Naval Air Squadron.
I was then introduced to my pilot and we went to the helicoter and got in strapped up and took off on a flight over Shropshire. I was given in-flight training on the controls trying out each one and then tried using both hands and both feet to control the craft, once Stacks (the pilots name) was happy with my touch he gave me control and said you know where you want to go so go.
Go I did, after a few turns and working out the wind direction I decided to have a look at our home from the air (well you would if you were me) so thats what I did, then over Wilfred Owen Shool with a wave to the kids, got a wave back as well, then over the daughters house (must remind her of her grass, needs cutting) then over the Flaxmill, Coton Hill, we then followed the A5 to Meole and went over the Football Ground (Greenhous Meadow).
Then we went up to Ellesmere and over the College and returned to the base via Wem. I dropped down to 1,000 feet then when told came around to the base from the East and dropped to 500 feet then down to 50 feet and told to head for two concrete squares in the grassed area, I brought the craft to the squares at about 15 feet, then with a sigh of releif Stacks took control and brought us onto the apron and landed. He said if I was fourty years younger I might make a helicopter pilot. But he did say that I did handle the craft very well I think it shocked him that I was up for it.
Once we had landed we returned to the building where the pilots debrief and removed my suite and helmet, thanked them all for being brave enough to allow me to fly. Well I have climbed up the outside of St Chads Church, been in a Challenger II tank, then I took the helm of HMS Talent and now I have flown a helicopter over my own home and around the lovely county of Shropshire WOW!!!!
Below is a pictorial of our day at RAF Shawbury, sorry no pictures of the flight all parts of my body were being used to keep the helicopter flying.
We then went and had a tour around a hanger and met with an ex glider pilot from the Second World War, he showed us around the Horsa Glider that is being brought back to its former glory after many years rebuilding it, also in the hanger was and American WACO Glider in the throws of being rebuilt.
Above the Horsa with a model od a DC3 the plane that often towed the Horsa on its missions. Our guide flew the gliders on two missions and volunteered for a third but was refused.
Above the Horsa next to a Tiger Moth full size genuine plane, just shows how large the Horsa was/is. Below myself and the Mayoress standing next to the Tiger Moth Plane.
Above is the American WACO Glider made of steel rather than wood that the Horsa was made of.
Above the Tiger Moth.
This is the helicopter that I flew No 55 so if you look up over the skys of Shropshire and see a Squirrel helicopter with the number 55 on it then it the one I flew in. But it will nto be me flying it.
I hear you ask, what was the Mayoress doing wholst you were up in the clouds, well she was happy enough to stay with her feet on the ground, but the RAF had other ideas and placed her in the simulator of a bell jet ranger, she told me later that she had great fun crashing, yet I understand that she was better than that and she landed a few times like a normal plane and not in a way you would normally land the craft.
We then had to leave RAF Shawbury it had been a fantastic day. I would like to say a big thank you to Group Captain Luck all of the staff at RAF Shawbury and to Stacks for taking me up. We all will remember this day thank you.
Please click on the following link to go to RAF Shawbury Web-Site. Thank you: http://www.raf.mod.uk/rafshawbury/
100 BRASS AND VOICES. ST CHADS CHURCH 28th APRIL 2012.
In aid of St Chads Restoration Fund and The Mayors Charity Fund
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WHAT IS THE MAYOR GOING TO DO NEXT? KEEP LOOKING AT THIS BLOG AND FIND OUT SOON.