Cover image: Helicopter from 824 Naval Air Squadron on board HMS Queen Elizabeth (Picture: Royal Navy).
Navy

Sailors Return To RNAS Culdrose After Month Of Training On HMS Queen Elizabeth

The 95 sailors faced the 100mph winds and huge sea swells of Storm Ciara on top of flying sorties over the North Sea.

Cover image: Helicopter from 824 Naval Air Squadron on board HMS Queen Elizabeth (Picture: Royal Navy).

Ninety-five sailors have returned to RNAS Culdrose after a month-long training deployment on Royal Navy aircraft carrier HMS Queen Elizabeth.

The Navy says it is the first time the detachment from 824 Naval Air Squadron - the Merlin Mk2 helicopter training unit at Culdrose - has used the carrier in such a way.

The ship faced 100mph winds and huge sea swells caused by Storm Ciara in the North Sea, as crews flew sorties day and night.

Speaking upon their return, 824 Squadron Flight Commander, Lieutenant Commander Roger Angliss, said: "We did run into a bit of weather and the storm hit us quite hard last weekend.

"The ship was moving significantly although she's got a stable deck really."

Personnel from 824 Naval Air Squadron (Picture: Royal Navy/LPhot Belinda Alker).
Personnel from 824 Naval Air Squadron (Picture: Royal Navy/LPhot Belinda Alker).

The aircrews operated alongside the new F-35B Lightning fighter jets, as the ship prepares to become operational in 2021.

Instructors gained experience with deck landings, including the use of night-vision gear, while search and rescue missions were also practised. 

Commanding Officer of 824 Squadron, Commander Martin Russell, said: "I'm hugely proud of what we have achieved so far and how well we have been able to integrate so seamlessly with the ship's company."

Costing £3.1 billion, HMS Queen Elizabeth is both a new ship and a new class of aircraft carrier and was joined by her sister ship HMS Prince of Wales in 2019.

The carrier weighs 65,000 tonnes and its flight deck is 280 metres long and 70 metres wide - enough space for three football pitches.

Cover image: Helicopter from 824 Naval Air Squadron on board HMS Queen Elizabeth (Picture: Royal Navy/LPhot Belinda Alker).