705 NAS

705 Naval Air Squadron

The squadron, part of the Defence Helicopter Flying School at RAF Shawbury in Shropshire, is where all RN pilots are put through their paces. Every Royal Navy rotary pilot will be trained at 705 NAS.

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Four classes a year go through Shawbury for the six-month courses, two at 705 and two at neighbouring 660 Squadron Army Air Corps. The initial flying-training course teaches basic rotary-wing skills and emergency handling, including engine-off landings, culminating in a first solo and a handling check. The next phase of the course is where basic skills are consolidated and developed into more applied techniques. The syllabus includes non-procedural instrument flying, basic night flying, low-level and formation flying, mountain flying (at Snowdonia) and an introduction to winching for RN students. It all culminates in a final handling test.

As well as the basic flying courses, a number of other, sometimes bespoke, courses are run, including certified to instruct; pilot refresher, UK orientation course for exchange students from the USA and Australia for example, and senior officers’ familiarisation courses. 705 also has three aircrewmen on the squadron who will be delivering a new advanced navigation module on the Joint Aircrewman Course (previously RN and the Army Air Corps ran separate training). The JAC will also see the first direct-entry personnel into the RN and ACC, a move not seen since WW2. 

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Unit History

Beginnings1936

705 Flight first stood up in June 1936, and became a squadron three years later.

World War 21939

The squadron protected troop convoys on the North America and West Indies Stations. It returned to RNAS Lee-on-the-Solent and disbanded in 1940.

Reformed1945

The squadron reformed in 1945, and recommissioned in 1947 at RNAS Daedalus, flying the Sikorsky Hoverfly.

First helicopter deck landing1947

An instructor from 705 NAS carried out the first helicopter deck landing on a Royal Navy ship, HMS Vanguard.

Move to the south west1950

The squadron moved to RNAS Culdrose in the late 1950s, flying the Westland Dragonfly, the Hiller HT1 and the Sikorsky S55.

Gazelle1974

The aircraft were replaced by the Westland Gazelle HT Mk2 in 1974.

RAF Shawbury1997

In April 1997, 705 NAS was disbanded and reformed at RAF Shawbury as part of the Defence Helicopter Flying School.

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Commanding Officer Becky Frater

Rank: Lieutenant Commander

Lt Cdr Becky Frater originally joined the Army in 1998 and was commissioned directly into the Army Air Corps after initial training at Sandhurst. She was then selected to undertake Qualified Helicopter Instructor training and was subsequently employed as a Flight Commander within 705 NAS of DHFS at RAF Shawbury. She assumed Command of 705 NAS in June 2013.

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Fact

Every Naval helicopter pilot will have passed through 705 Naval Air Squadron

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