Old Breconian Ryan Ward popped back to Christ College for what was a flying visit earlier today (4th March) whilst undertaking a training flight.
Ryan was a pupil at Christ College between 2004 and 2009, boarding at St. David’s House. He is currently coming to the end of his Army Pilots course with the Army Air Corps. Today he had the opportunity of landing at Christ College whilst on a training mission, and he took the time out to meet Alway House pupils, as well as reacquainting himself with some of his former teachers.
Ryan explained: “After leaving Christ College, I attended Army Flying Grading where potential pilots are tested in a small aeroplane over a 13 hour course to see if they have what it takes to make it as an Army pilot.”
Having already passed selection for Officer training, in January 2011 Ryan started a year long course at the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst and was commissioned into the Army Air Corps on the 16th December 2011.
Ryan continued: “I spent a short while working with the Army’s Apache helicopter squadrons before starting the Army pilots course in Feb 2012. It starts with lots of survival training in all sorts of different environments and education in aviation medicine, including the effects of hypoxia and disorientation. I then spent 6 months in Lincoln learning to fly aeroplanes before moving to Shrewsbury to fly helicopters.”
It was here that Ryan was taught the basics in helicopter technology, flying theory, navigation, flying and helicopter operations. After completing both the basic and advanced rotary courses at Shrewsbury, Ryan was posted to Boscombe Down where he worked with the Rotary Wing Test and Evaluation Squadron (test pilots) where he helped run operations.
“Whilst there though I was lucky enough to fly a number of different aircraft including a fighter jet!” explained Ryan.
He is now on the final phase of the Army Pilots course – the Operational Training Phase – and he’s learning how to operate the aircraft in a tactical environment to ensure the full potential of the helicopter is utilised to the Army’s advantage. This ranges from landing in tight landing sites to flying at night using night vision goggles and everything in between.
Ryan concluded: “With any luck I will finish this phase in June and will be appointed ‘Wings’ and a helicopter type. What that will be I do not know, but I have to get there first!!”
After a few handshakes, some photo opportunities and a short Q&A, Lt Ryan Ward was back in the helicopter and heading back down the Usk valley to continue his training mission … but with a promise to come back again soon!
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