To many personnel on the Unit the Photo Section is just somewhere you go to for an quick portrait photo when you’re told to get a new mug shot for the Sqn board or you need a new ID card.
In reality, The Photo Section product has a much wider reach than just the odd ID photo or a “grip and grin” to commemorate the transfer of authority between an outgoing boss and his successor. Supporting many aspects of the Station’s output, the section provides support to operations working closely with QRA, engineers, police, medics and administrators alike, not to mention the public relations focused Typhoon Display Team and BBMF. Although not established to provide video, over the past year we have had great success capturing airborne footage from Typhoon and BBMF aircraft that contributed to a significantly larger RAF media effort for events like the Olympics, Queen’s Birthday flypast and the Dams 70th anniversary. Some of the sections footage has reached world wide audiences.
The taxpayers reading this article will be pleased to discover that in an era of shrinking budgets and greater expectations for our resources, the Photo Section are also delivering a significant saving to flying training. Last year the section were approached to investigate the possibility of producing an aircrew training package that would allow students to consolidate their weapons training syllabus prior to a live sortie. Working with 29(R)Sqn Weapons Instructors, SAC Buckley captured footage from live sorties and the simulator and assembled a product narrated by a Qualified Instructor. This tool highlights the key learning points enabling a student rehearse as many times as they wish on the ground prior to flying a live mission to consolidate their knowledge. 29(R)Sqn has reported that students have received this package well, resulting in much earlier success in the air, ultimately reducing demand on aircraft and personnel alike and saving tens of thousands of pounds in the process.
Victims of their own success, OC Forward Engineering Squadron is pushing the section hard for more. It is recognised however, that none of the above would have been possible without superb support from C4I.
PHOTOGRAPHS: SAC Buckley at work in the editing suite.