Oxford URNU visit Airbus Helicopters

A tour around Airbus Helicopters at the Oxford Airport brought Oxford URNU students face to face with expensive custom fitted helicopters with luxury additions such as £30k drinks cupboards, carpeted floors, leather sports seats and high-end Bose headphones.

This was in stark contrast to the National Police Air Service (NPAS) helicopter which was a few feet away and had a far more functional and less luxurious touch. Airbus manages the maintenance contract for all NPAS helicopters throughout the UK for all the police forces.

The group met the ex Royal Navy Chief Flight Instructor who mentioned his Service experience had prepared him well for his current role.

The group listened with interest as he went on to describe his initial career as a young Sub Lieutenant on board HMS Ark Royal bringing helicopters onto the Flight Deck racking up 1,000 flying hours per tour. 

Mr Mark Verman hosted the URNU visitors and showed them around the facilities. He also gave an in depth background brief of the company in the boardroom prior to leading them to the simulator.

Similar to the Bridge Simulator at BRNC, it had a full suite of helicopter cockpit controls in addition to a Teacher’s Computer which allows the instructor to alter the environmental settings.

From shutting off engines, starting a fire or changing the weather; the simulator can throw a whole range of situations at trainee pilots.

The students then got hands on with the simulator itself dealing with fires, an unstable helicopter and an untimely crash due to the loss of both engines whilst trying to return to the UK from Germany!

2018 is 'The Year of Engineering' in the Royal Navy and Oxford is one of 15 URNUs located across the UK offering opportunities to 750 undergraduates from the country’s leading universities.

The URNU's mission is: "To develop an understanding of the Naval Service in undergraduates, so that those who go into civilian employment are positive advocates thereof and to facilitate a Naval Career for those who choose one.

The URNU is a chance to experience military life without commitment and gain new skills applicable to all walks of life.

Words by Mid Finch-Hatton-Mason