Soldier, pilot, parent, and astronaut: this is how Colonel Tim Peake CMG describes himself on his Twitter account, and to that list he can now also add Honorary Colonel of a prestigious British Army regiment based at the oldest military flying training school in the world.
It has been announced that with effect from 1 February Colonel Tim has been appointed by Her Majesty the Queen as Honorary Colonel of 9 Regiment Army Air Corps – based at RAF Shawbury in Shropshire, where he first graduated as a qualified Helicopter instructor.
Shawbury, home to the oldest military flying training school in the world, provides basic and advanced helicopter training for aircrew of all the three Armed Services.
The Commanding Officer of 9 Army Air Corps (AAC) Lieutenant Colonel Stewart Pearce said: “I am delighted to receive the news that Tim Peake has been announced as the Honorary Colonel of 9AAC.
“The entire regiment look forward to officially welcoming him to the unit – when restrictions allow - to show him the world leading training being provided by our personnel to the next generation of military rotary wing aircrew.
“He, like myself graduated as a Qualified Helicopter Instructor from the Central Flying School (Helicopter) also based at RAF Shawbury; it will be a pleasure to show him how training has improved and developed over the years with the state-of-the-art helicopters and synthetic training we now use.”
With his background and experience, Colonel Tim will be a superb ambassador and role model for those trainee pilots embarking on their flying career with the British Army Col Julian Facer, ADC Col Army Air Corps
Tim, who served with the Royal Green Jackets before taking up flying training, gained his Army Flying wings in 1994 and was awarded best student on his course at the time. He later went on to become a flying instructor – a move that eventually led to him entering the history books and a career as a world-famous astronaut.
Some of the most demanding flying that Colonel Tim has accomplished was whilst working as a test pilot including trials on the Apache helicopter, eventually deploying to Afghanistan in support of operational deployments to the region.
After leaving the Army in 2009 after 18 years of military service, Tim was selected as an European Space Agency (ESA) astronaut in May of that year and his space adventures include a long duration mission to the International Space station in May 2013 and also saw him blast-off aboard a Soyuz Rocket from the Baikonur launch site on the Kazakhstan Steppe en-route to the International Space Station.
Paying his own tribute, Colonel Julian Facer ADC, Colonel of The Army Air Corps, added: “The Army Air Corps is pleased to welcome Colonel Tim Peake CMG who has been appointed as the Honorary Colonel of 9 Regiment Army Air Corps.”
“With his background and experience, Colonel Tim will be a superb ambassador and role model for those trainee pilots embarking on their flying career with the British Army; 9 Regiment Army Air Corps is charged with delivering initial helicopter flying training as part of the UK Military Flying Training System.”
“The Regiment is the Battlefield Helicopter Wing (BHW) and delivers advanced helicopter performance techniques and tactical training to the trainee pilots, crewman and observers from the Army, RAF and Royal Navy.”