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Sultan of Brunei at RAF Shawbury to congratulate helicopter graduates

By Dominic Robertson | Shawbury | News | Published:

The Sultan of Brunei was present to mark the graduation of helicopter pilots, including his son, from the county's training base.

The Sultan of Brunei presenting his son Prince Capt Mateen with his Pilot Brevet

The final graduates taught on Squirrel and Griffin helicopters at RAF Shawbury's Defence Helicopter Flying School were presented with Aircrew Brevet and certificates by the Sultan at a ceremony on Wednesday.

They were presented with the certificates by Reviewing Officer, His Majesty Sultan Haji Hassanal Bolkiah Mu’izzaddin Waddaulah, and Yang Di-Pertuan of Brunei Darussalam.

The occasion saw members of the Royal Air Force, Royal Navy and the Sultan’s own son, HRH Prince Captain Abdul Mateen graduating as fully fledged pilots and crewmen.

The Graduation Parade Honour Guard

The graduates will now move on to continue their training or to single-service units to convert to the latest frontline helicopters.

Group Captain Robert Norris, the Station Commander of RAF Shawbury and Commandant of the Defence Helicopter Flying School said: “It has been an honour to welcome HM the Sultan of Brunei to RAF Shawbury as the Reviewing Officer for the graduation parade today.

"We are immensely proud of the part that the Griffin and Squirrel helicopters have played in delivering world leading training and preparing aircrew for future operations.”

The Sultan of Brunei and Air Marshal Sean Reynolds CBE DFC RAF, the air member for personnel and capability, receiving the royal salute

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After the formal parade the guests moved outside the hangar to witness the final fly-past of the Griffin and Squirrel helicopters.

The training aircraft have been flown by trainees at the Defence Helicopter Flying School for the last 20 years. Following their flypast, the helicopters flew on to a private helicopter training centre near Bournemouth to be decommissioned from the Royal Air Force.

A Squirrel and Griffin on their last sortie flying past the Wrekin

After the final fly-past had concluded, the Sultan and attendees then moved to the Officers’ Mess where a celebratory Graduation Luncheon took place in a less formal atmosphere.

Here the students were able to explain the intricacies of their training to their family and friends, some of whom had seen the world-leading training provided at RAF Shawbury for the very first time.

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