Wantage And Merlin Come Face To Face

It was wide eyes all round when staff and cadets from 1861 (Wantage) Squadron, Air Training Corps spent the day with 28 (AC) Squadron, Royal Air Force at RAF Benson and were treated to a VIP look around their Merlin helicopters.

The activity was devised in order to allow a number of the younger members of the Squadron to see the workings of the RAF at close quarters and 28 squadron, operators of one of the most modern aircraft in RAF service seemed to be the most appropriate unit to observe.

The visit started with a briefing session by Sergant Tyrrel from 28 (AC) squadron and covered topics such as the history of the unit and the aircraft it has operated in the past and also the roles and functionality of the Merlin HC Mk3/3A helicopter which they have operated since 2001. The staff and cadets then proceeded to what was the highlight of their visit, a guided tour of one of the Squadrons helicopters including the opportunity to sit in the much coveted aircraft captains seat.

Commanding Officer of 1861 Squadron, Flight Lieutenant Nigel Furlong said “The Merlin helicopter itself is an extremely adaptable piece of equipment, being able to be used in both tactical and strategic operational role and has one of the most comprehensive defensive aids suites fitted to any helicopter in the world. I am therefore extremely grateful to the Commanding Officer of 28 Squadron for allowing us to visit his unit and to the Squadron personnel who gave up their time to show the cadets around and answer their many questions.”