Merlin Training

RNAS Culdrose has one of the most advanced training facilities in the world which is used to train aircrew and engineers in every aspect of the Merlin Helicopter.

The Merlin Training Facility is a first in that it encompasses Pilot, Observer, Aircrewman and Engineering training under one roof. Most of the training facilities utilise computer based training simulation allowing detailed instruction in aircraft systems, communications, navigation, radar and electronic displays, without the students having to leave the ground.

Within the facility, we have:

    • A Weapon Systems Trainer

    • A Mechanical Systems Trainer

    • A Tactical Situation Display

    • Computer Based Training classrooms

    • A Cockpit Dynamic Simulator

    • 3 Rear Crew Trainer simulators

The Cockpit Dynamic Simulator and the Rear Crew Trainers are some of the most advanced simulators ever built. The Simulator is a full motion simulator which is an exact copy of the cockpit of the Merlin helicopter. Its state-of-the-art graphics provide a very realistic training environment for aircrew allowing them to practise emergency procedures in a safe and controlled environment. The Simulator can be linked into the Rear Crew trainers for real time multi-threat operational training.

The majority of engineering training is carried out in the Mechanical Systems Trainer. Here trainees learn how to change engines and rotor blades, while instructors can inject malfunctions for the trainees to detect.

The Weapons Systems Trainer has fully functional landing gear, hydraulics, deck lock (a hydraulic arm which grabs hold of a grid on the ship's deck once the aircraft has landed), sonobuoy dispenser and Active Dipping Sonar. It allows trainees to practise loading and unloading weapons, again in a realistic environment.

On completion of ground training, the students move to 824 Squadron to begin their airborne syllabus using the Squadron’s seven Merlin HM Mk1 helicopters.