Salisbury man 'awarded his wings' in Royal Navy

Salisbury man 'awarded his wings' in Royal Navy

Published by Jack Deery at 9:00am 29th December 2019. (Updated at 9:29am 30th December 2019)

2 minute read

A former Bishops Wordsworth sixth form and Stonehenge school student has been given the prestigious qualification.

After completing years of intensive training in the Royal Navy's Fleet Air Arm, Lieutenant Michael Mansfield, from Salisbury, can now operate submarine-hunting helicopters from frigates.

The sailors who received their ‘wings’ at the ceremony at RNAS Culdrose
The sailors who received their ‘wings’ at the ceremony at RNAS Culdrose

It means he is now qualified as an observer, the helicopter rear-crewman in charge of navigation, weapons and radar systems. 

He will now join 814 Naval Air Squadron, known as the Flying Tigers, who are a frontline Merlin helicopter squadron which supplies submarine-hunting helicopters.

A Merlin helicopter from 814 Naval Air Squadron, known as the Flying Tigers
A Merlin helicopter from 814 Naval Air Squadron, known as the Flying Tigers

Lieutenant Mansfield said:

"It was an amazing feeling to get my wings - it's been the culmination of three and a half years' of hard training to reach this point.

By far the best part of the course was a training exercise in Norway, where we worked alongside the German Navy. I basically spent two hours in the back of the aircraft, chasing this German submarine around a Norwegian fjord.

For me, I find the intensive work, when you're fighting in the aircraft in a tactical environment, can be quite tough. As the observer, you are always doing something, be it navigating, talking on the radio, monitoring the radar or planning what to do next, and that means there is a huge satisfaction in a successful mission. I would absolutely recommend it to anyone thinking of a career in the Royal Navy."

He was part of a team of aviators who qualified from the training centre at Royal Naval Air Station Culdrose in Cornwall. 

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