THE FIRST TRAINEE PILOT GETS AIRBORNE IN A JUNO HELICOPTER UNDER THE NEW UK ROTARY MILITARY FLYING TRAINING SYSTEM
On 25 April 2018, the first trainee pilot on the new rotary element of the UK Rotary Military Flying Training System (MFTS) course, Flt Lt Jamie Johnson, took his first flight in the new ‘Juno’ helicopter at RAF Shawbury.
Jamie said: “It is a privilege to be the first student to fly in the new Juno helicopter here at RAF Shawbury. Having flown the previous aircraft, the Squirrel, the Juno is a huge step forward due to its similarity to the technology of front line aircraft; I look forward to learning more on it.”
This flight marks an important milestone in training future aircrew in helicopter operations. The training is being conducted at RAF Shawbury using the Juno (Airbus H135) aircraft, a modern and capable aircraft that has the benefit of a touchscreen glass cockpit and an advanced avionics suite; this technology will ease the transition of students progressing to frontline operational helicopters.
Rotary wing training begins with ground based lessons in the theory of helicopter flight and builds the trainees’ understanding of other topics, such as meteorology and air operations. As well as time airborne, students learn many of their skills from state of the art simulators, which make an excellent environment for practicing emergencies and tactical elements of the course. The reliance on ground-based training, rather than live flying is helping to increase the efficiency of the training, as well as to reduce the cost. Towards the end of the course, the trainees will complete an additional training module at RAF Valley on the Jupiter (Airbus H145) aircraft, to learn specific skills for mountainous and maritime operations. After completing this and the service specific final exercise, students will be awarding their ‘wings’ in the form of Flying Brevets.
The Station Commander, Group Captain R S Norris said: “This is a unique milestone and the culmination of an 18 month of transition at RAF Shawbury. Our future rotary aircrew will benefit from the very latest training methods, enabling them to undertake operational roles across a range of front line aircraft types, including Apache, Chinook, Merlin and Wildcat. The delivery of the UK MFTS is an auspicious start to the centenary of the Royal Air Force and will ensure that the UK continues to be a world leader in delivering military flying training.