RAF Shawbury

To Shawbury in Shropshire last Friday, on a visit to RAF Shawbury arranged by Andy Holly, in company with 44 fellow marshals from BMMC.

Andy, who marshals mainly at Oulton Park and Angle

sey, is chief flying instructor at Shawbury by way of a day job.

The station is home to the Defense Helicopter Flying School and also the Central Air Traffic Control School — both joint-services facilities. In addition, several hangers on thee site house the Aircraft Maintenance and Storage Unit.

We visited all three facilities.

In the Storage Unit, work was in progress to prepare new aircraft for the Red Arrows, servicing and uprating the new planes, and transferring specialist kit,like the smoke generators, from old Arrows craft. There is also space given over to a project to reconstruct a WW II assault glider, where there was an actual DC3, largely intact, and a Tiger Moth.

The Helicopter school has about 38 Squirrel training aircraft, as well as some other types. We had a detailed introduction to the machines, from some of Andy’s instructor colleagues, and had the opportunity climb aboard — I nipped into the pilot’s seat and was able to play with the controls and check out the bewildering array of instruments.

The ATC training facility gave us an insight into the tricky business of making sure aircraft avoid each other. There was a neat simulator mockup with big screens for teaching visual control tower skills, and allegedly they have some equally good simulator kit for radar training, but we didn’t get to see that.

All-in-all, an interesting three hours.

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