The latest group of future pilots and crewmen, possibly destined for Afghanistan, have graduated from the Defence Helicopter Flying School at RAF Shawbury. Virtalis is proud to have awarded The Virtalis Trophy which was presented by Virtalis Helicopter Crew Reality (HCR) specialist, David Hendon, to the student weapons systems operator who achieves the highest marks in flying duties and synthetic training.
The reviewing Officer for the graduation, was Air Vice Marshal Sean Reynolds CBE DFC RAF, Air Officer Commanding No 2 Group and Chief of Staff (Operations).
Five special awards were presented to the graduating course members:
- The Sir Arthur Marshal Trophy for the student pilot who achieves the highest marks in flying duties went to Flight Lieutenant Haydn Wiggin who will now fly the Chinook with No 18 Squadron at RAF Odiham.
- The Virtalis Trophy awarded to the student weapons systems operator who achieves the highest marks in flying duties and synthetic training went to Sergeant Ollie Smith who is now posted to No 18 Squadron on the Chinook helicopter.
- The Group Captain Harding Trophy, awarded to the student pilot who achieves the highest marks overall in navigation went to Flight Lieutenant Haydn Wiggin.
- The Wing Commander Fraser Trophy awarded to the student with the highest marks in ground subjects went to Sergeant James House who is posted to 18 Squadron at RAF Odiham.
- Finally, the Griffin Trophy, awarded to the course member who contributed the most to the spirit of the Squadron and Course went to Flight Lieutenant Chris Greensides, who is now posted to the Chinook at 18 Squadron, RAF Odiham.
The students of No 135 Multi-Engine Advanced Rotary Wing Course Pilots and Weapons Systems Operators have now completed up to 13 months training at RAF Shawbury during which time they have flown across the county in Squirrel and Griffin helicopters. Of the seven graduating pilots, four have gone to Chinook, two to Merlin and one to Search and Rescue. Six of the graduating crewmen will move to the Chinook whilst the other two will move onto the Search and Rescue, Sea King helicopter.
David Cockburn-Price, Virtalis MD, commented: “Virtalis was delighted to award our own Trophy to Sergeant Ollie Smith for his prowess on HCR and in flying duties and we are proud that HCR is such an integral part of helicopter crew training.”