New Year honour for Ernie

Big congratulations to Ascent Multi-Engine Pilot Instructor, 45 Squadron, Richard (Ernie) Taylor, who has been awarded a prestigious Air Officer Commanding (AOC) No 22 Group Commendation, as part of the New Year Honours List.

The commendation celebrates meritorious service given to the Royal Air Force and can be awarded to civilians who have demonstrated consistently high standards of efficiency and devotion to duty.

Ernie – whose varied RAF career has seen him fly Puma, Tucano, Canberra, and Sentinel aircraft, as well as displaying the BBMF Lancaster and Dakota – joined Ascent as the first civilian QFI for the Phenom.

He qualified in May 2018 and has played a pivotal role in the development of the Multi-Engine Pilot Training course, especially the Low Level and recently approved Formation phases.

Serving on Standards Flight, instructing new QFI courses and working as an examiner and IRE, he has achieved over 900 live flying hours and 780 hours in the simulator, making him the most experienced pilot on type.

Few, if any, across the whole of 3 FTS have matched his instructional output since he completed the initial Phenom course in 2017.

Jubilee flypast

In 2022, Ernie was selected as the lead pilot of 45 Squadron for HM The Queen’s Platinum Jubilee Flypast, involving a Phenom and four Texan aircraft. He liaised extensively with 72 Squadron and practiced at RAF Valley to familiarise the crews with the different aircraft types involved in the mixed formation.

Long hours with the mission planning system and in the simulator helped perfect the plan, which resulted in a successful flypast practice at RAFC Cranwell. On the day, the result of his hard work saw a smooth, safe and professional flypast on-time over Buckingham Palace.

Ernie’s outstanding contribution to training delivery has also been recognised within Ascent, and he recently received the GM Award for 2022.

Darren Arch, Ascent GM, RAFC Cranwell said: “For a number of years now we have seen Ernie consistently leading the way in training delivery here at Cranwell, so I was delighted to see him deservedly recognised more widely in the New Year Honours list with an AOC’s Commendation.”