Training flying throughout the month focused on preparations for Ex Saif Sareea II (SSII). This involved CVS simulators, night flying, ramp training and Close Air Support (CAS) sorties alongside
TIALD and Maverick training. Also, several flying and ground currencies were renewed to ensure that nothing would lapse whilst away on SSII. In order to comply with the ramp-training requirement necessary for deployment to the CVS, pilots conducted sorties to RNAS Yeovilton where they each completed 3 ramp take-offs on the land based ski-jump. Night flying was undertaken to ensure that all pilots were current to undertake night sorties from the CVS or Masirah Airfield as appropriate during SSII.
As well as all the Ex SSII preparation, the Sqn conducted a Missile Practice Camp at RAF Valley. Four Sqn pilots accompanied by the Sqn QWI detached to Valley in 3 GR7 and one T10 ac. Despite some poor weather conditions, all four planned Sidewinder firings were completed by the middle of the week and the detachment then returned to Cottesmore. The firings were completed successfully, with the missile guiding and fuzing correctly in all cases. Whilst the GR7 ac were conducting the firings, the T10 ac was used to fly several RAF Valley student pilots on air experience sorties.
Two days were allocated to completing Individual Deployment training (IDT) and Individual Readiness Training (IRT) with the RAF Cottesmore Regiment Section. Both of these training courses are a pre-requisite for Ex SSII. IDT is now an RAF wide requirement which refreshes personnel in various fieldcraft skills that may be required at short notice during an out-of-area deployment. This involved the erections of tents, building of sangars, fire control orders and construction of local defences. IRT is however, only a specific requirement for those posted/deployed to the Middle East and included advice on heat injuries, driving difficulties, dangerous animals, etc that may be encountered in the region. In addition, IRT involved a confidence check of all personal NBC equipment and a reminder of the principles of collective NBC protection.
One aircraft shut down on start-up when flames were seen to pour out from the rear exhaust nozzles. Closer inspection revealed that a stator vane had broken loose and been ingested into the engine, the engine was replaced and sent back to Rolls Royce for deep strip investigation. Another GR7 diverted into Edinburgh airport with a generator caption. After changing the GCU and VSCF with replacement items the aircraft returned back to RAF Cottesmore. Towards the end of the month the engineers initiated a series of CVS preps for the aircraft allocated for the forthcoming CVS/Oman detachment.
Mr Des Davies, who served as Cpl on IV(AC) Sqn during the post-WWII years, visited to present a painting of a IV(AC) Sqn Mosquito to the Sqn. The visit also coincided with that of Air Cdre (Ret) Tony McKeon, a former CO of the Sqn, who has agreed to be the first President of the IV(AC) Sqn Association.
The Sqn held a very successful dining-in night in the mess, during which several Sqn officers and honorary members were dining with us for the first time. It had been a long time since the Sqn was able to hold such an event on station and made a pleasant change from the Finch?s Arms where the last few events have been held. Flight Lieutenant Paul Crutchlow was dined out during the evening, and he presented all Sqn members with a copy of a video, that contained all the footage that he had collected whilst serving on IV(AC).
No 4 Regt Army Air Corps, based at Wattisham, has agreed to become affiliated with IV(AC) Sqn. As befitting an ?Army Co-operation? Sqn, this new relationship should benefit the Sqn both socially and professionally. Lt Col David Turner and a selection of his Regt will come up to the Sqn?s next Dinner Night in November to formally cement the relationship.