We had a most enjoyable day at RAF Lossiemouth for their employer visit. Squadron Leader Chris Beckley OBE BSc greeted us with coffee and briefed us on the day’s itinerary and the necessary “rules.” We were then bussed to the Atlantic hanger, a vast and pristine building large enough to accommodate three Boeing 737s.
Group Captain Jim Lee, the station commander, provided us with a fantastic introduction to the station and its aircraft’s capabilities, of course a lot of the capabilities were classified information, but we got a good all-round picture. The hanger housed the P-8A Poseidon aircraft, used for maritime surveillance, anti-submarine warfare, and anti-ship warfare. These beautiful-looking aircraft have a wide range of capabilities, I think its safe to say it would be fairly impossible to hide from these aircraft.
After lunch, we met RAF Reserves from all over Scotland, hosted by 2622 squadron. It was fascinating to hear about their training in the RAF and how it helps them in their civilian careers. I had the pleasure of meeting a Dreamliner airline pilot, a lawyer, a bartender, and a university history lecturer, among others.
We then made our way to the Typhoon hanger, and coincidentally, two Typhoons flew over our heads at low altitude, creating a deafening and impressive experience. Flight Lieutenant James Bell, standing outside the hanger wearing his shades, greeted us. It was as close to being on the set of Top Gun as I’ll ever get. He shared an interesting fact about his colleague, who weighs 100kg and increases in weight to just under one tonne when the aircraft pulls a nine-point-something G. We also had a Q&A with Wing Commander Kev Terret, who revealed that Russian visits to UK sovereign territory’s outskirts were more frequent than one would think. When asked about the proximity of these visits, he humorously remarked, “I would be able to tell whether the pilot was drinking a can of Coke or Fanta!”
It was a fantastic day, and I’m pleased to report – we are in very safe hands!
With Special thanks to SQ leader Derek Reed 603 squadron for the kind invitation.