Air Engineers Course Blog 6

Moving on from the Aircraft Systems Phase of our course we dived straight back into the classroom to undertake the Applied Aircraft Management (AAM) module.

Where the Aircraft Systems Phase gave us the engineering knowledge to back up our decisions when undertaking duties on our future squadrons, this new phase aims to teach us about the ‘who does what’ in the aviation world, and the policy that regulates ‘how’ we will operate aircraft throughout our careers.  

This is an incredibly important period of the course; all this new information will form a substantial section of our final assessment boards in just a few weeks time.

After the two very intense weeks covering AAM in the classroom we got the opportunity to get out of Sultan and on the road, visiting the two Air Stations of the Royal Navy; RNAS Yeovilton in Somerset and RNAS Culdrose in Cornwall.  

There are a couple of purposes to these visits; first of all they act as a form of consolidation of AAM phase, allowing us to meet the people undertaking the roles that we had just learnt about and witnessing the day to day running on various different squadrons, and secondly they allow us to decide where we would like to work when we finish the course.

As soon as we returned back to Sultan we all submitted our preferences as to which squadron we each wished to join after the completion of SEMC, these submissions were all discussed between the staff at the school and the AE Career Manager who came to a decision a week later as to where we would all be going.

Another big part of our jobs will be planning detachments, taking aircraft and personnel away from the parent Air Station and operating on ships or elsewhere in the world.

Sub Lieutenant Jack Longstaff, Trainee Air Engineer Officer

Thankfully most of the members of the course got their first choice of squadron, and everyone got their choice of Air Station (after all, it is going to be home for at least the next 2 and a half years).

With the visits completed, we moved onto the Squadron Management Phase within 760 Initial Training Squadron (ITS) at Sultan.  

This is a full mock-up squadron complete with its own hangar, aircraft, tool issue centre and maintenance control offices.  These facilities are used to immerse students in the world of air engineering within a squadron environment with a continuous scenario running from beginning to end.  

Our time on the squadron had us all rotate each day through roles, from AETs carrying out maintenance and repairs on aircraft, through to the Duty Air Engineer Officer briefing command in the morning and running the maintenance effort for the day (something which we will all hopefully be doing in a few short months). 

Another big part of our jobs will be planning detachments, taking aircraft and personnel away from the parent Air Station and operating on ships or elsewhere in the world.  

To help prepare for this task we planned our own detachment from 760 into a Forward Operating Base (FOB) about a mile away at Browndown military training camp.  

During the final week of 760 we carried out this detachment, taking one of the school’s beloved Sea Kings and all the necessary equipment by road (not an easy task) to our FOB, setting up, living there for the week and maintaining the aircraft out in the open.  

This was great practice for when we will have to do this ‘for real’ and gave us all a thorough appreciation of the amount of planning that has to go into this sort of operation to make it a success.

Now it’s time to move on to our two final assessments: Chaos week, where we will again be the Duty Engineering on the Squadron, but this time assessed and with more injects and problems to deal with; and our final assessment boards, something that we are all a little apprehensive about.  

Time for revision I think!