It has been a busy period for 29(R) Sqn with the graduation of more than 30 new Typhoon pilots in the last 12 months. In addition, the Typhoon Qualified Weapons Instructor (QWI) course has recently graduated providing the Front Line squadrons with more tactical expertise.

Towards the end of the QWI course a two-week Combined QWI exercise was flown from RAF Lossiemouth. It combined the Typhoon QWI course with the Tornado GR4 (aka Bomber Command Historic Flight) and Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance Force QWI courses, in addition to rotary and multi-engine assets, to generate large scale scenarios involving up to 50 aircraft. 29(R) Sqn and 1(F) Sqn engineers did a great job maintaining a combined fleet of 12 Typhoon aircraft without a dedicated spares pack-up. Fighting through Urgent Technical Instructions, 2 engine changes and a complex accommodation & transport plot it is amazing that not one sortie was lost through unserviceabilities. Luckily the weather was favourable for most of the period and it gave everyone a taste of what northern Scotland can be like before half of the Typhoon Force move there next year. The QWI course culminated in two presentations to AOC 1 Gp on “Why QWIs deserve more pay” by the graduates followed by “Fighting Stick Storage Solutions for the 21st Century and Beyond” by Sqn Ldr Tuer, which left the audience thoroughly whelmed.

There have been the usual comings and goings from the Sqn. We welcome Jonny “It’s a 2 if you’re lucky” Dowen who joins the instructor strength with his eyes on the Standards Pot; move over Nick Graham. A special mention goes to James “JT” Turner who recently found time to get married whilst on the course. We hope you and Tori have a lovely honeymoon (in 2016). Further still Colin “Bruffy” Brough has been granted a ginger breeding licence and is expecting a baby with Karen in November; congratulations to you both.

With families in mind the Sqn held a low-key families day at the start of August. With the Sqn barbecue fired up, over 250 people attended. Jamie ‘Nozza’ Norris flew his display and the simulators were open for guests to see if they could do better. One of the guests was Hugh Pocock, father of Mark, a current Sqn member, who had been a photographer on 29 Sqn from 1954-55 when it was the Day Fighter Leaders School at Tangmere. A short dig into the Sqn history brought back lots of fond memories from what he described as his best time in the RAF.

The display season has been going extremely well and the Typhoon Display Facebook page now has eleven friends. Furthermore, Nozza has been impressing all with the Typhoon at airshows around the country. One of the most prestigious was the Royal International Air Tattoo at RAF Fairford for which he was awarded the trophy for the best solo jet display. Well done Jamie and his team!

In preparation for a planned detachment to Cyprus in late Summer, Strats and the Boss went to Grosseto in Italy to see if we could make it half-way there. Aside from (redacted) they made it there and back with no trouble and reckon that if we top-up with fuel and use the other side of the map too, we should all get there without drama. Acting as an Air Transport backup plan, Mike Mason led a sailing expedition, Exercise TYPHOON BREEZE, from Gosport in July. Having got to Torquay in a mere five days the merry crew reckoned they could get to Cyprus without contracting scurvy if provided with a similar amount of liquid nutrition.

The coming months hope to see OpCon 22 flying solo, OpCon 21 through the Air Combat Phase and OpCon 20 finally finished (one way or another). Hopefully, the first solos will run smoother than Ollie Pocock’s, which resulted in him being faced with a myriad of warning captions. Luckily he had read the HMS Eagle Carrier Landing Manual (second edition, 1962) instead of the Typhoon User Guide and his arrestor hook landing absolved him from having to fly endless circuits.

Finally, it’s time to announce that Mike “Mick the Fish” Mason is off to Australia in December to fly the F-18. Up to now he has only let on the closely guarded secret to his closest family, friends, colleagues, acquaintances, selected public/curry houses across the UK and people he has passed in the street or sat near to in cinemas. Good luck Mike!


PHOTOGRAPH: Ex Typhoon Breeze – Night harbour scene