Tulips from Amsterdam

pilots 2

“The suit is called Tulips from Amsterdam and my friend bought it for me for my birthday. Because it’s my leaving do tonight I thought I’d wear it. We all work at RNAS Culdrose but I’m moving to 1710 in Portsmouth.”

“This man is the best pilot you can find. Have you heard of a dog fighter? He’s the top dog – trained for combat with the enemy.”

“On a day to day basis all that means is flying and keeping things current more than anything else, but if it comes to the shit then you’ve got to shoot someone down.”

”If it comes to shooting down other aircraft, this guy doesn’t need instruments – he goes off sight. That’s how high up he is.”

“The Royal Navy is the best in the world when it comes to training – not only officers, but ratings as well. We train every day – simulation and attack.”

”Yeah, basically, I go up and he will hunt me down. It’s cat and mouse. If you avoid each other you win. If you don’t, you’re dead. Well, not actually dead dead – just in theory dead. We practice with radar, so if he gets a lock on me then I lose. The training for attacks are simulated but the training for flying is real. The Navy is never really at war like the infantry is. It’s much more a deterrent – we never really deploy but at any point you can get tasked with a bombing mission – you go and do it and then you come back. That’s your job. ‘Dip in, dip out’ is the phrase we use. You do what you need to do and then you come back. If more than two people go at once, that would be a strange situation.”

“So it’s the end of my draft here. You only stay somewhere for two to three years and then you go somewhere else. It’s just enough time to build a team and then it gets taken away from you. It is a struggle but you’d be amazed at how quickly you can rebuild. Especially when you go on ship and away. You’re with each other 24/7 – a lot of people in the same situation.”

“For me personally, when it comes to training and build up the navy is second to none – they’re absolutely fantastic – but when it comes to the two or three year drafts, to do that constantly day in, day out – it’s quite a struggle. So you need that down time. Things are changing in the forces and it’s a lot to do with money. There used to be the Air Force, the Army and the Navy. The problem is now it’s becoming more of a general defence force in itself. The budget is getting worse and the three services are becoming as one. You should do a good article saying we need more money. And vote UKIP. They’re the only ones who actually said anything about the armed forces – they’d give us more money.”

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