Flying Start: Aircrew Graduate From State-Of-The-Art RAF Shawbury

It is the first graduation for pilots since the Defence Helicopter Flying School underwent a £1.1 billion upgrade.

A parade has been held to celebrate the graduation of 22 tri-service aircrew from the Defence Helicopter Flying School at RAF Shawbury, Shropshire.

It marked both the graduation of the first 13 pilots to complete their training within the Rotary Wing UK Military Flying Training System (UKMFTS), as well as the graduation of 9 helicopter Rearcrew. 

It is the first graduation for pilots since the facility underwent a £1.1 billion upgrade.

The new state-of-the-art facilities began operating last April and have helped RAF Shawbury become the world leader in training technology.

The Defence Helicopter Flying School now boasts the largest fleet of Juno helicopters in the country - it has 29, along with three Jupiter aircraft.

Flying training begins in a state-of-the-art simulator, the only facility of its kind in the world, which employs motion queuing technology to allow you to feel movement in a static structure.

RAF Shawbury's fleet of Juno helicopters.

Once they have learned to fly, students move on to the Combat Tactical Trainer, where anything can be thrown into the mix to put them under pressure.

Flight Lieutenant Jamie Johnson will go on to fly Chinooks.

He said: "The availability of the state-of-the-art infrastructure such as the Flying Training Devices, in addition to the Juno and Jupiter has made the whole process slicker and will undoubtedly better prepare aircrew for the front line."

The technology ensures these pilots, who will go on to fly Chinooks Wildcats and Apache in the world's conflict zones, are prepared for the frontline challenges ahead.

The new state of the art facilities began operating last April.