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August 2002

September finds IV Sqn refreshed from block leave and back to work with a vengeance. The highlight of August was the “rockstar” performance at the Southport airshow. Messrs Suddards, Bradshaw, Killeen and Berry and came together as Four?s Four and were the star attraction of the weekend. The team put on a great performance for the crowd and returned with puffed chests on the Monday. A revised line up will be flying at the 90th Anniversary – groupies welcome.

During the summer the Sqn secured the use of the RAF racing yacht, a Sigma 38, and spent a week adventure training on the south coast. Those that were new to the sport certainly saw “challenging and arduous” when they encountered a fog bank in the middle of the night! August was not all play, however, with 3 pilots showing a Harrier presence at TLP in Belgium.

The coming month sees us back up to full speed with several challenges ahead. Scott ?Moxley? Williams joins the Sqn as JP and will be striving towards the coveted “Combat Ready” status. The new night flying season has begun with global uncertainty providing greater emphasis for that. The Sqn is taking part in Ex FLYING RHINO, with aircraft traveling to Paderborn in Germany to undertake CAS training with the 1 Div FACs. Those old enough to remember the Gutersloh days of the Harrier Force will be back in the familiar territory of ‘Scotty Dog’ LFA 3, but this time with decent nav kit! [Real men dont’ need nav kit – Ed] Also on a European theme, we are flying Air Combat Training against Austrian Drakens in the North Sea ACMI. We will also strengthen our friendship with the French Air Force Mirage F-1s and 2000s when we travel to the Gironde for 2 weeks of varied training in October. Nothing to do with the fact that the base is 20nm from Biarritz, of course.

On the social side, the whole Sqn is gearing itself up towards the 90th Anniversary. We look forward to a great weekend with the opportunity for generations of IV(AC) Sqn members to come together and show that the camaraderie on Happy Four is as strong as ever. Bring your favourite war story and I?ll see you there – it promises to be a humdinger.