JHC & RN Aircraft Host Landowners & Local Residents from the Southwest
RNAS Merryfield recently opened its gates for the annual CHF Landowners’ Day followed in the evening by a flying and static aircraft display for the local community. The aim of both events was to thank local people for their unstinting support to flying operations in and around this extremely important airfield. Despite poor weather over 1,500 people attended the events which were pronounced a great success.
Merryfield is a satellite airfield to RNAS Yeovilton, operating day and night for helicopters from JHC and the RN’s Lynx Force to conduct advanced and continuation helicopter flying training.
CHF Landowners’ Day is an opportunity to thank local farmers who provide remote landing sites for Sea King crews to prepare for operations in Afghanistan and contingent operations. These isolated areas enable vital training opportunities for tactical landings and manoeuvres which are fundamental to the success of operations.
The assembled Landowners were addressed by Capt Briers CO CHF, “The provision of landing sites is critical in preparing for war. The proud history of CHF is based on innumerable global operations since its inception in 1953. It has actively engaged in every major emergency, action, or conflict and its reputation judged by those who matter, the troops on the ground, is as healthy as ever. None of this would be possible without the support of you, our friends in the local community. Myself and my boss, Commander JHC, and are extremely grateful for that support and for the training and hence the flexibility it provides our crews on operations.”
Two Sea Kings were available to fly the Landowners over the Somerset Levels, which provided an opportunity to understand better the importance of remote landing sites to the training of Aircrew. In addition, CHF’s Combat Spt Sqn set up a field kitchen and visitors were able to explore vehicles, weapons and other military hardware.
The open evening also provided a chance for the local communities to see up close the various aircraft that operate at Merryfield and to meet some of the crews and support personnel. During the flying displays a range of training roles were demonstrated which included under-slung load carrying and fast-roping by Sailors and Royal Marines of CHF’s Cdo Mobile Air Operation Team.
Further attractions were two Wildcat helicopters which are to be operated by the Royal Navy and Army in the future.