XI SQN UPDATE
Busy times for XI Sqn!!! In three months there has been one Sqn Association Day, a deployment to Northolt, three valued Squadron pilots have departed, two new pilots have arrived and 47 Olympic medals have been won…sweet work!
On 17 May, XI Sqn hosted its annual Association Day and AGM. The 33 members of the Association that could attend were hosted by Flt Lt Dunc Wylie who ensured they a fun-packed day. The day consisted of guided tours of BBMF and XI Sqn, then the Association members were treated to a personal air display by the BBMF Spitfire. Clearly such a prestigious event would not be the same without a suitable dinner and social drinks to conclude the day. The pride, history and ethos of XI Sqn remained visibly prominent amongst both old and new members and it is the continuation of these Association Days that will continue to set XI Sqn as an identity and not just a Squadron.
The deployment to RAF Northolt has been a busy period for the XI Sqn and 3(F) Sqn Engineers and Ops staff alike. Standing up a detached QRA was no mean feat, and it was with the support of RAF Coningsby that our role in the Olympic Games was achieved with such a high degree of professionalism. Thank You. One of the highlights of this deployment for XI Sqn had to be the appearance of Flt Lt Alex ‘I won’t let it go to my head’ Thorne on the BBC’s The One Show. He did the Sqn proud and is now ‘ready at a moment’s notice’ should an agent call….
The Sqn have now all returned back to RAF Coningsby and are busy preparing for an action packed 9 months, including a detachment to RAF Lossiemouth to support Exercise Joint Warrior and CQWI………………. Oh yes and Vegas………….. Oh yes
Sadly as events come and go so the pilots of XI Sqn move on. The Animal Print Suit wearing legend that is Sqn Ldr Chris Layden (Laydo) said his goodbyes in August; goodbyes that embraced Coningsby, Linton On Ouse, Bournemouth, the White Cliffs of Dover and the Battle of Britain Memorial…Bon! Laydo leaves the Sqn to take up the rank of Wg Cdr and begin his studies at Staff College at the Defence Academy Shrivenham. No doubt he will be back flying in a couple of years on XI Sqn…with his own office.
Flt Lt Dunc Wylie travels 1200m NW of XI Sqn to indulge in the fine art of brief monitor debrief as a QPI on 29(R) Sqn. Dunc spent nearly three years on XI Sqn where has accrued a new house and a baby daughter. We all wish Dunc the best of luck instructing the next generation of Single Seat aviators.
L’au revoir Johno, XI Sqn vous souhaite la grande réussite dans le Rafale. Vous avez été un avantage à l’escadron pendant trois ans. Nous devons arranger quelques bagarres sur au dessus sujet de la Manche.
Translation – Flt Lt Matt Johnstone (Johno) is going to the FAF to fly the Rafale.
Flt Lt Giles Croft (Crofty) (not Schlongy’s brother) arrived on XI Sqn in July and has immediately started to save up his frequent flier air miles; soon he will be able to cash them in for a travel kettle (BAES sponsored of course).
Sqn Ldr Matt King (Kingy) joins the Sqn as OC A Flt. Formally of 3(F) Sqn fame, Kingy brings with him a huge depth of knowledge on the aircraft and tactics. One of the founding QWIs on the Typhoon, he will be now commanding A Flt on XI Sqn.
The near future brings an increase in tempo for the Sqn. With Sonny Roe finishing off his QWIC it would only be fair for the whole Sqn to deploy to Scotland to offer him some moral support, capable Blue Air and submissive Red Air.
I started with some statistics so I will close in the same vain. In the months of June, July and August XI Sqn have flown 695 hours, qualified 3 pilots as LCR (Q), 1 Combat Ready pilot and complete 3 Pairs Lead work-up. These achievements would not be possible without the backbone of the Sqn….the Engineers!!!
“Ociores Acrioreque Aquilis”
Team GB’s House Visit
100 Armed Forces personnel were invited for breakfast with members of Team GB, for a thank you for their contribution to the security of the Olympics. The 100 personnel were split down by the percentage each force contributed, so 69 were Army, 16 Royal Navy and the remaining 15 were RAF. The Typhoon force was asked to submit 1 person to represent them, Cpl McMillan, an Avionics technician from the XI Sqn Engineering detachment was put forward to attend, having spent the duration of the Olympics deployed at RAF Northolt as part of the rectification team for Op PROTEGO Aircraft. Having spent the 5 weeks living in tents and working 12 hour shifts the opportunity was not one to give up!
After spending the morning on the tube during rush hour Cpl McMillan arrived at Stratford Station where other Forces personnel were gathered waiting to enter the Team GB House. Looking around, the Typhoon Force appeared to be the only one in DPM still. Just before 0900 a representative from Team GB came to collect everyone and start processing people inside.
Once inside and after a security check point everyone was led up to the 9th floor, where Team GB were housed. Upon entry to the main meeting room everyone was given complementary ‘Bucks Fizz’ and shown to the area where the breakfast was laid out. This was a lovely array of pastries and fruit, including plenty of tea or coffee, but there appeared to be one thing missing from all this….the athletes? It wasn’t long before they started to appear, firstly most of the bronze medallist women’s hockey team all with their medals around there necks. After chatting to the girls about their medal win and how they found the whole experience more athletes started to come through the door including double gold medallist for the team sprint and the men’s sprint final. Also the gold medalists from the men’s coxless four rowing team, Pete Reed, Andy Triggs Hodge, Tom James and Alex Gregory with their gold medals for all to see and hold. Also making an appearance was the women’s double sculls gold medalists and Winter Olympian Amy Williams to say thank you.
During all this some legends of British athletics arrived, none other than Sir Steve Redgrave and Denise Lewis walked through the door. They were instantly mobbed by everyone in the room. Just before the 2 hour invite was over it was time for the big thank you which was given by one of Team GB’s representatives. It was great to hear how much they appreciated our work and how they felt safe with so many Armed Forces personnel helping with security. After the thank you was over, all the Forces personnel and athletes got together for one big photo in the seating area. As we were all leaving the Brownlee Brothers walked in to film a clip for the evenings National Lottery draw.
All in all a great day, being in the same room as all these athletes and being able to talk to them about their success was an amazing experience. Also having them ask questions about what we had been doing and how they were genuinely interested and grateful for what we were doing for the games was brilliant, a once in a lifetime chance.