RNAS Culdrose

Home to the Royal Navy’s maritime Merlins, Culdrose – just outside Helston on the Lizard Peninsula – is one of the largest helicopter bases in Europe. With 3,000 personnel, it is one of the biggest single-site employer in Cornwall, pumping £100m into the local economy every year.

This busy Air Station supplies skilled aviators, engineers and flight deck crews to protect Royal Navy Ships and Submarines, above, on and below the waves.

RNAS Culdrose's Training Role


There are many training facilities at RNAS Culdrose including the Engineering and Merlin training facilities. You can also find the School of Flight Deck operations which trains students in the art of managing aircraft movements and tackle aircraft fires.



Commanding Officer

Captain Stuart Irwin

Captain Irwin joined the Royal Navy as a Warfare Officer in 1998. His front-line aviation was mostly in Lynx Mk3 and Mk8 Maritime Attack Helicopters, as pilot and Flight Commander frequently deployed in Frigates and Destroyers from the Arctic to the Antarctic, and the Pacific to the Arabian Gulf.


He spent two years as a Maritime Counter Terrorism Flight Commander, and was Operations Officer of 815 NAS.

Selected as an Experimental Test Pilot, he became the lead Test Pilot for Wildcat Maritime Attack and Battlefield Recce variants, as well as conducting test flying in all UK military helicopter types. He was XO of the Rotary Wing Test and Evaluation Squadron. Returning to the front line, he was Senior Pilot and XO of 815NAS


He was selected for promotion to Captain in 2020 and took command of RNAS Culdrose in July 2022.

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How to get there


RNAS Culdrose, Helston TR12 7RH

01326 574 121