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RAF WADDINGTON Flight Safety Day

On Sunday 18 May, the Air Traffic Control Squadron at RAF Waddington hosted 85 members of the General Aviation community for their yearly flight safety day.

Thirty light aircraft made the journey to Waddington for a day designed to build relations between those who fly in the vicinity of Lincolnshire and the controllers that help keep them safe. The day enables the pilots to ask questions as well as receive briefs on any changes to rules and procedures over the last year as well as look to future changes. To date this was the most successful event held at RAF Waddington.

Briefings

After a welcome brief from the event organiser, Sgt Mike Hayes, and the Senior Air Traffic Controller Officer, Sqn Ldr Jess Kups, the floor was handed to Fg Off Liam Cooper to inform the pilots of the procedures at Waddington and the areas which fall under Waddington’s remit. This also covered the rebuild of the runway due to take place this year and what that will mean for people flying in the area. From here the Guest Speaker for the day, FS ‘JJ’ Philpot, spoke to the attendees about Military Ranges on the east coast, covering details such as opening times and heights; this brief was really well received with people finding out information they would otherwise not have access to. Many questions followed from enthusiasts who would be keen on seeing operations from the Ranges and ultimately was described as one of the highlights of the day. An eye-opening brief on Human Factors followed, that from Sqn Ldr Seb Hall a pilot from 8 Sqn. After the brief it was remarked that, had that brief been delivered before starting to fly, it would have changed their look on how they mentally approached a lot of the aspects of flying. The last brief before lunch saw Flt Lt Rob Parr from 8 Sqn talk to the audience on the up-to-date operations of 8 Sqn and what they can expect to see when flying in the area. After lunch a last minute additional speaker stepped up from the Air Ambulance; a comprehensive brief from them before a chance to visit the aircraft was well received with many showing a high level of respect for the job which both the pilots and paramedics selflessly do day in and day out.

Visits

Following the briefings all attending were invited to a number of visits seeing half go to Air Traffic Control, the rest proceeding to visit Helimed, who had just returned from attending an incident in Grimsby. The chance to chat to the crew and look around the aircraft was loved by all, seeing the environment within which they work daily; unfortunately the crew was again called out, this time to Rutland, so only one group got the chance. This also gave the group a chance to see the Aircraft take off with numerous comments on how short a preparation time they had before take off.

The second visit was to RAF Waddington’s Air Traffic Control Tower; this for many was the main highlight. This gave them a long awaited chance to talk to those who work in the tower on a daily basis, giving them an opportunity to see the equipment used as well as the time to ask the controllers and assistants about how they operate on a daily basis. Whilst in the tower they were again split into two groups, with one taken into the Visual Control Room upstairs and one remaining in the Approach Control Room downstairs.

The day was finished off with a closing brief, with Sqn Ldr Kups thanking everyone for their attendance and capping off what was a rewarding and successful day for all.

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