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With the Anglesey winter nights drawing nearer, happy IV(R) Sqn busy ourselves by fondly recollecting our summer vacation (Bolthole) to St Athan

Hawk T2

Hawk T2

Some will warmly reflect on the long summer flying days and boozy Thursday nights in Cardiff, whilst others shudder at the thought of 9+ hour coach journeys or the steep final turn on the edge of Cardiff ATZ. Most of all, we will remember those carefree days with team cream in charge of the programme (now renamed Snowbass and Clarkmax 3000) and the endless MT plot discussions on WhatsApp.

The squadron achieved a considerable amount in the time away, including the continued work-up of QFI course 11 towards the convex, A2 qualifications for Gibbo and Corny and B2 QFI for Creamie No3 (Mabbs). Congrats guys. We also continued supporting a number of summer airshows and family days, most notably the AirPower 16 show in Zeltweg, Austria where Musky was rumoured to have headlined the hangar party with his incredible spray-tan powered Peter Andre tribute act! Whilst they were away, the SNO proved he’s not only concerned with air safety, but that he also contributes to Total Safety by bravely tackling the fire in Bassy’s kitchen using his immense beard as a makeshift fire blanket, establishing a one man safety cordon and following up with a textbook bowtie chart to prevent re-occurrence.

Back on the squadron, we welcome QFI course 12, which has an international flavour, including another US Marine (Ooh Rah) and a member of the Belgian AF (Same). They are joined by ab-initio course 22, consisting of another 6 students. This should mean another busy winter flying period for mighty A-FIt, whilst B-FIt continue to make their contribution by remaining safe and dry in the simulator, occasionally shouting “Fox 3” at each other.

On the departure front, we wave goodbye to Rich D (again!) and Nik-Nak, who are off to the frozen north of Canada on exchange, and to JB who goes back to the Tornado. The biggest news of all however is that Pete S has finally left Valley! After seemingly 23 years on the Island of Dreams he has finally managed to dig his escape tunnel. He will be sorely missed (or more accurately, his digital brain will be), not least by the poor soul who has had to take on our’auto-doms’ spreadsheet and by all those who don’t understand T2 performance calculations.

Finally, thanks go out to all those on station who helped make Op Bolthole such a success – it’s appreciated.

In futurum videre