XI Sqn Update

Now that the focus has moved from Op ELLAMY, XI Sqn has been using the last few months to reflect and regenerate.  We will also be saying goodbye to a sizeable portion of the Sqn over the coming months, as well as welcoming new members in to the fold.

A lot of the Sqn

have been working towards upgrades either to pairs leaders or from pairs to four ship leaders.  This should help to balance out the Sqn when people start to move on.  It should also allow the structure of the Sqn to ultimately maintain intact when we lose a fair amount of our longer standing members. Of those to be moving on, Flt Lt’s Sonny Roe and Kev Broder will be moving on to 29(R) Sqn to start the Qualified Weapons Instructor Course.  A year of hard work, but hopefully very rewarding flying, awaits them. Best of luck goes to resident Irishman Flt Lt Graham Cooke who has left us to become an instructor on 29(R) Sqn and best wishes go to Flt Lt Seymour who will now be wearing the green and white badges of doom as StanEval (Standards and Evaluation) Flying. Flt Lt Jim Peterson has recently returned from a stint in the Falklands but will also be heading North as he crosses the airfield to join 17 Test and Evaluation Sqn (TES).  We’re expecting the TES’s output to go up exponentially when he gets there – good luck Jim!  Furthermore, we’ll also be losing our only Qualified Flying Instructor, Flt Lt Matt Johnstone; he’s heading off on an overseas exchange. We’re sure that he’ll have a great time and we all hope that he’ll be putting us up on a regular basis as we would all like to come over and visit (nudge, nudge Johno!).

Perhaps though, the biggest impact will be felt by losing one of the most influential and respected figures on XI Sqn, WO Sam McMillan.  It will be a great loss to see him go as he’s done so much to help the Sqn get where it is today but we understand that he has to move on at some point.  So it is with much sadness that we say thank you, goodbye, and the best of luck with the future!

Adding to the Sqn though, Flt Lt Adam Crickmore has joined us fresh faced from the OCU.  He’s been met by the dream first week having been sent straight out to the UAE to recover aircraft from a recent exercise.  Welcome Crickers, we hope that you make it back soon!

As well as day to day operations at home, we have also recently sent a further 3 pilots out to the UAE for ATLC, a 6 week multi-national large force exercise which saw pilots learn how to plan, supervise, fly and debrief complex scenarios.  Whilst a demanding course, I understand that the participants took solace in the fact that their weekends were their own and they could do with them as they pleased (read in to that: Dubai, Meeting Mama Mia and a fair amount of cash spent).  Suffice to say, they appear to have had a good time!

Looking forward, the Christmas period should provide a few social gatherings to enable us catch up with one another having been sent various places across the globe for so much of the year.  What’s more, it will give us a chance to give a little back to the partners and families who have stood by us whilst we were off doing what it is that we do.  Next year brings with it a detachment to Oman for Ex MAGIC CARPET.  It provides the Sqn with a chance to get involved with some larger scale combined air operations, as well as a chance for newer members to get some exposure in the air to ground environment with potential for some, if not all, pilots to get to drop high explosive munitions on their range.

And so, it is here that we must leave you! We look forward to telling you all about what we’ve been up to later in the New Year.  Until then, have a very merry Christmas and a happy new year from XI Sqn!


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