1st July 2022
North Shropshire MP Helen Morgan swapped the debating chamber for the cockpit as she was given a taste of helicopter pilot training at RAF Shawbury.
The Lib Dem MP was welcomed by Station Commander Group Captain Phil Wadlow, Commandant of No. 1 Flying Training School and The Defence College of Air and Space Operations (DCASO), and met officers, instructors and civilian staff.
Helen was taken up in a Juno helicopter for an aerial view of her constituency, which forms part of Low Flying Area 9 – the dedicated training area for military helicopters across Shropshire and parts of neighbouring counties.
She also tried her hand at flying in one of the training simulators and practised guiding aircraft as an air traffic controller.
Every helicopter pilot in the RAF, navy and army learns to fly at Shawbury’s training school while a variety of operations specialists are trained at DCASO.
Helen Morgan, MP for North Shropshire, said: “It was a privilege to visit RAF Shawbury and have the chance to experience some of the base’s world-class training first hand while learning more about how Shawbury strives to play a positive role in the local community.
“I was extremely impressed by the new technology being used to train not just helicopter pilots but also the air traffic controllers, weapons controllers and other specialists at The Defence College of Air and Space Operations.
“I think many local people are unaware of just how important Shawbury is – not just for the RAF but all of our armed forces. The fact that every military helicopter pilot learns to fly in Shropshire is something we all ought to be very proud of.
“Thanks to Group Captain Phil Wadlow and his team for being so welcoming and giving up their time to provide a fascinating insight into how the base operates.
“It’s clear the personnel all enjoy being based here in Shropshire and it was reassuring to hear how important community engagement is to everyone at Shawbury.”
Station Commander, Group Captain Philip Wadlow, said: “It was a pleasure to welcome Helen Morgan, MP for North Shropshire, to RAF Shawbury to view and gain some ‘hands-on’ experience of how we train Air Operations personnel and helicopter crews for Defence.
“I was particularly pleased that she was able to meet many of our ‘Whole Force’ partnership and see the diversity, innovation and collaboration at the core of both the training and welfare of our people.
“Our thanks go to Helen Morgan for taking the time to visit RAF Shawbury further cementing our relationship with the wider community in Shropshire, a community which we are proud to contribute to.”
RAF Shawbury is one of the largest employers in North Shropshire, with around 1,200 people working at the base including Army, Navy, RAF and civilian personnel.