Another programme milestone was achieved on 18th September when Flying Officer James Bell became the 100th student to complete his Elementary Flying Training at RAFC Cranwell and Barkston Heath. After debriefing his Final Handling Test, he was congratulated by instructor and 57 Sqn OC, Sqn Ldr Mike Waring, on a successful pass. The mixed-profile sortie consisted General Handling, Navigation and Instrument Flying around north Lincolnshire and the Trent valley, including a practice diversion to Coningsby in a Grob Prefect aircraft.
Rolled out in 2017, the Grob Prefect has superseded the Grob Tutor as the primary Elementary Flying Training aircraft. It offers greater performance and glass cockpit avionics – reflecting cutting-edge front line aircraft such as the F35 Lightning and Atlas A400M.
Courses start every few weeks; students arrive in the purpose-built Sykes building with modern classrooms and interactive learning aids. Gone are the old-fashioned lever arch files and cockpit posters; students now study on computer tablets and interactive desktop trainers. What’s more, to ensure students are best prepared for their airborne sorties, basic flying simulators and virtual reality are now used – a huge step forward in training delivery at EFT.
Group Captain Euge Moriarty, Comdt No 3FTS said ‘The graduation of the 100th Prefect student from Elementary Flying Training is a significant achievement for the whole force team that makes up 3FTS. We are immensely proud of the progress made so far – but recognise there is more hard work to come as we grow to our full operating capacity. The graduation of Flying Officer Bell as our 100th student signals that we are well on the way. The Prefect has proven to be a superb elementary training aircraft and, supported by the range of synthetic systems, it provides a step-change in capability which more closely matches the requirements of our modernised front-line’.
Reflecting on their EFT course, Flying Officer Bell said “the performance of the Prefect is enough to put a smile on any student’s face. Finishing EFT is a great milestone for me, and to be the 100th graduate is an unexpected, added pleasure.”
Mr Brian Braid, Ascent General Manager, 3FTS RAFC Cranwell said “It is amazing that we are already up to the 100th student to graduate the new EFT course. The students work incredibly hard to get the very best from the instruction they receive from a mix of military and civilian instructors who have a wealth of knowledge and experience. I’m sure that Flying Officer Bell has found the course challenging and rewarding, and I have no doubt that he will reap the benefits of this new training system at his next stage of training.”
Flying Officer Bell will now be selected for either Multi Engine, Rotary or Fast-Jet training as the next stage of MFTS training, on his journey to earn his pilot wings, and progress to the front line.