Sultan trainee Air Engineers second blog

After busy week of inductions, the next couple of weeks of SEMC(AE) have settled into a routine of instruction and revision, studying modules in aircraft comms, instruments and airframe mechanical systems.

At the end of each module we sit a written module test to check that the course content has sunk in. Our class are lucky as we have people from most engineering degree backgrounds.  

Myself, having studied Elec Eng, has been able to help others with the power distribution and communication topics, and others have helped me with explanations of hydraulic and aerodynamics (completely alien to me until now). 

The content itself isn’t overly challenging but there is a huge amount of it to absorb and understand in the relatively short period of time.  

Myself and the other members of the class are actually finding the academics enjoyable as we are all learning new engineering principals and exploring the systems that keep the Royal Navy’s aircraft flying.

To help prepare us for the final Air Engineer Qualifying Board, the course was split into three Learning Syndicates when we arrived, each has two mentors. 

One mentor is an experienced Air Engineer Officer who helps with the academic and systems content, and the other is a Training Manager who focuses on presentation and oral board techniques.

Myself and the other members of the class are actually finding the academics enjoyable as we are all learning new engineering principals and exploring the systems that keep the Royal Navy’s aircraft flying

Sub Lieutenant Jack Longstaff, trainee Air Engineer Officer

Last week, as we finished our first written exam we went straight into a ‘whiteboard session’, drawing and talking our way around aircraft systems whilst answering challenging questions from our mentors.  

This can be a daunting position to be in at first, but with more practice we are all becoming more confident in recalling information and explaining aircraft systems in this increased-pressure setting.  

We have had these mentor meetings each week, building on the classroom instruction and giving us an idea of the level of knowledge we will need for our final assessments.

Week 4 brought some early starts to the day as the whole of HMS Sultan prepared for Ceremonial Divisions on the Friday morning; this is a formal parade where friends and family of classes who are leaving the base, known as ‘Passing Out’, are invited to attend and enjoy the day.  

Divisions is a long-standing (excuse the pun) tradition in the Royal Navy which is designed to demonstrate drill and instils discipline, obedience, smart appearance and confidence, and is often seen at ceremonial occasions such as this.  

What this means for Sultan Ship’s Company taking part is standing still for an hour or two, getting inspected, and marching past a VIP.  

As junior officers we were nominated as platoon commanders. This meant taking charge of a squad of 20 to 30 ratings throughout the parade.  

Luckily the sun was out and the event ran smoothly, making it a great spectacle to take part in.  The nice weather meant we could enjoy entertainment from the Band of the Royal Marines and a rifle drill display from Sultan sailors.  

We also got the chance to meet the VIP, Rear Admiral Weale, in a more informal setting one evening in the Wardroom, this was a great opportunity to ask questions of a senior officer and get a good insight into how high ranking officials see the current position and the future of the Royal Navy.

Next week we move onto studying gas turbines, a subject that myself and a few of my colleagues haven’t touched on before.  Even so, as we have found previously, the prospect of learning new subjects can be an extremely exciting one.

Yours Aye,

Jack