The Master and a party of 14 Carmen, partners and friends enjoyed a spectacular visit to RAF Benson on 10 May 2022.
RAF Benson is home to two front-line Puma HC2 helicopter squadrons and a unit which flies a mix of Puma HC2 and Chinook HC4 helicopters. It is also home to the Operational Evaluation Unit of the Joint Helicopter Command as well as the National Police Air Service and the Thames Valley Air Ambulance.
After a preliminary briefing and refreshment hosted by Squadron Leader Karl Wright (Officer Commanding) and Flight Officer Kieren McEntee, the group was taken on a tour of the station during which its history was explained, together with its re-purposing from a World War II photo-reconnaissance base to its present use.
The very warm welcome that Carmen received was much appreciated and was a great start to the visit.
During the tour the group watched at close hand as several helicopters and fixed-wing planes took off.
Various areas of the RAF station were visited to see the activities that the station undertakes and we saw the training of ground-staff to use a lorry-mounted crane. This precision work provides trainees with the skills required to raise and lower components such as motors and rotor blades without causing damage to the host aircraft, which could lead to expensive repairs.
The Master showed great concentration when he was invited to have a go!