This is my second newsletter in command. Although I shouldn't be, I am surprised at how rapidly time has passed since my last! This year we seem to have been busier than ever.
208 Squadron welcomed eight British Forces flying training courses during 2006/7. These courses consisted of 34 RAF, 5 RN and 2 RM officers. Of these personnel, three officers were ‘creamed off’ (chosen for instructor training at the end of their 208 Squadron course) to Valley and a further 2 were posted back to RAF Linton-on-Ouse to become creamie instructors on the Tucano. The remaining officers, with the exception of one withdrawal from training, were graduated to Tactical Weapons courses undertaken at either 19(R) Squadron on the South side of the airfield or to the NATO Flying Training Canada course based at CAF Cold Lake.
The Squadron continues to undertake training of Indian Air Force students as part of an agreement between BAe Systems and the Indian Government. RAF Valley welcomed four courses of Indian Students comprising a total of 23 officers. It continues to be a hugely rewarding experience for both the instructors and the UK students to work with the Indian Air Force. Despite the obvious cultural differences, and a climate that is very different from the one they are used to at home, the Indian students have shown that they are capable of adapting to our way of flying training and display huge amounts of enthusiasm, The programme comes to an end in February 2008 and we will miss them.
Flight Lieutenant M E W Pert flew 44 displays during the 2006 season, many of them at various locations around Europe. Approximately three million people watched the display and the Squadron received countless letters, telephone calls and e-mails congratulating him. He hands the reins to Flight Lieutenant M J Child for the 2007 season. “Chikey" has already distinguished himself by winning the Wright Jubilee Aerobatic Trophy for the best display and has begun his season with the skill and brio expected.
The highlight of the year was the Squadron’s 90th Anniversary Open Day, Graduation ceremony and Guest night on 2 June. Many Association Members joined current Squadron personnel on a blazing hot day to celebrate the event which concluded with a very successful dinner. Following this in October the 208 Squadron Anniversary Painting was unveiled. The painting was presented by Ocean Limited, the company which provides our IT support for programming, as a gift to honour the Anniversary and a limited edition of 208 prints are available. One painting was presented to the Officers Mess at RAF Valley, where it hangs in pride of place in the reception.