The last remaining search and rescue unit in the Royal Air Force, 84 Squadron, has just welcomed a new CO.  

On the dispersal at RAF Akrotiri, Squadron Leader Al Ross prepared to fly a Griffin for a rather special flight, where he will take command of one of the Royal Air Force’s most historic squadrons - The Scorpions of 84.

At the controls of another Griffin was Squadron Leader Richard Simpson, who's handing over control after two and a half years in charge.

The pair flew in formation and, as is traditional for 84 Squadron, the two leaders exchanged command while airborne.

84 Squadron

Although 84 is predominantly a search and rescue unit, it performs a variety of other roles, from airborne firefighting to operating as an air ambulance.

For 84, it's been a year of celebrations, including the squadron’s 100th birthday.

New CO, Sqn Ldr Al Ross, believes maintaining that history is a key part of the job:

"Looking at the board this morning and seeing some of the names from 1917 like Major Sholto Douglas who ended becoming Air Marshal later on in his career... all the way to my name at the bottom of the board was amazing."

For Squadron Leader Simpson, this isn’t just the end of his command, it’s also very nearly the end of his military career.

After nearly 18 years as an RAF pilot, most spent flying the Chinook, he leaves next year for a civilian flying job.

The handover provided a chance for 84 to say goodbye to its former boss in the traditional way, giving Richard 'Simmo' a rather sodden send off...

84 Squadron

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