Astronaut and former Army helicopter pilot Colonel Tim Peake CMG has presented helicopter aircrew with their flying badges and certificates.
On 7 May, 23 tri-service aircrew graduated from Number 1 Flying Training School (No. 1 FTS) at RAF Shawbury in Shropshire.
Colonel Peake said: “What a wonderful honour to present the wings; it took me back to my own wings parade and I know how much this day means to them. I am very proud of what they have achieved, and they should be rightly proud as well." Col Tim Peake CMG
The parade celebrated the successful completion of flying training for the 17 pilots, 2 aircrewman and 4 Weapon System Operators.
Not even the restrictions imposed by coronavirus could dampen the spirits of the graduates as they proudly marched on to the parade to receive their flying badges and certificates, in front of their instructors and colleagues.
Colonel Peake, who was recently appointed Honorary Colonel of 9 Regiment Army Air Corps (9AAC) by HM The Queen, was the Reviewing Officer for the graduation parade.
This prestigious Regiment is the Battlefield Helicopter Wing within No. 1 FTS and delivers advanced helicopter performance techniques and tactical training to the trainee pilots, crewman and observers from the Royal Navy, British Army and Royal Air Force.
Colonel Peake said: “What a wonderful honour to present the wings; it took me back to my own wings parade and I know how much this day means to them. I am very proud of what they have achieved, and they should be rightly proud as well. This is the culmination of a huge amount of effort and something they have been working towards for many years. I am excited for them all; they have great careers ahead of them and a really exciting journey.”
Although this was Colonel Peake’s first visit to 9AAC in his capacity as Honorary Colonel, he is no stranger to the base, having previously graduated as a Qualified Helicopter Instructor from the Central Flying School (Helicopter) Squadron.
Colonel Peake received a warm welcome from the Commanding Officer of 9AAC, Lieutenant Colonel Stewart Pearce AAC who was delighted to show Colonel Peake the world-leading training now being delivered to the next generation of military aircrew.
Lieutenant Colonel Pearce said: “It was an honour to welcome our Honorary Colonel to 9AAC for the first time. With his background in both space and aviation, he will be an excellent ambassador and an inspiration to the trainee aircrew starting out in their careers. The Regiment is looking forward to a long and successful association with Colonel Peake.”