On the 12th of October 2016, George, one of the Top Flight Helicopter’s team, attended the RAF Benson’s Landowners’ Lunch. George was given this opportunity after his family offer RAF Benson use of their fields for training purposes, RAF Benson use the land to help train the helicopter crews adequately for operations they will face in the future.
Upon arriving at RAF Benson, we were showed into the ‘Officers Mess’ this is where commissioned RAF officers eat and socialise and is staffed largely by Service Personnel. After being introduced to our hosts over a cup of tea and biscuit we chatted about what the day would consist of and confirmed we were still happy for RAF Benson to use our fields allocated to them.
Shortly after a coach arrived to take us to the flying squadrons on the other side of the airfield where we had a fantastic presentation from the Royal Air Force Presentation Team.
The presentation explained what rolls the RAF were currently undertaking and the future of the RAF, a very informative and enjoyable presentation.
We then headed to the Puma Squadron at RAF Benson for a safety brief on the Puma helicopter followed by being issued helmets to wear. After donning our new head dress, we were escorted outside to a waiting Puma Mk2 Helicopter.
|The Puma Mk2
The Puma is a twin-engine support helicopter capable of carrying up to 16 passengers, the Puma has recently been put through a life extension program which has significantly upgraded the aircraft. The Puma Mk2 has new more powerful engines, new glass cockpit with a world-class autopilot and an advanced Flight Management System.
Puma Mk2 is used in many support roles, tactical troop and load (internal/underslung) movement by day or night. The Puma Mk2 can hold up to 16 passengers, or 12 fully equipped troops or up to 2 tonnes of freight. Casualty Evacuation is also an important part of the Puma Mk2, in this roll 6 stretchers can be fitted into the aircraft. Finally, the new Puma Mk2 plays a big role in search and rescue.
Our flight lasts about 40 minutes, taking it in turns to visit each farm from the passengers on board. This simple flight showed the capability and versatility of such a fantastic helicopter, not something many people are able to experience. See below the videos from our flight.
Once arriving back at RAF Benson, we were taken back to the Officers Mess where we sat with our RAF hosts whilst the catering staff laid on a fantastic 3 course silver service meal.
I would like to thank Group Captain Simon Paterson for the invitation to RAF Benson, I’d also like to thank his team who hosted us throughout the day, there professionalism, time and effort that went into looking after all of us is very much appreciated.
Here is another video from the day;