While this was the main thrust of their visit Christian and Catherine found themselves treated to a host of exciting opportunities that will live long in the memory, most of which are thanks to 1312 Flight and the duo’s sponsor Squadron Leader Paul Bolton.
“We got to fly in an A400M for the first time and were joined by Typhoons and they suddenly put their afterburners on and shot off – it was just incredible,” Catherine said.
“When we went in the back they started to do some tactical manoeuvres, I couldn’t believe how agile such a massive aircraft could be!”
“Then we flew with them to go iceberg hunting and found two. It was unbelievable, we flew so low circling them you could see the vivid blue of the ice.”
The pair also visited Stanley – the tiny capital (2,100 people) of the islands, toured HMS Clyde, the offshore patrol vessel that serves as the Permanent Guard ship, helped out during a local primary school’ visit to the A400M hangar, visited one of the Typhoon hangars (and got to sit in the cockpit), and paid tribute at memorials located on the Islands.
“We also went to this idyllic sandy beach where there were warnings about landmines, it was very surreal that somewhere so beautiful could hold such danger,” Catherine said.
“It was an incredible trip and one very few people get the chance to experience. It’s an experience that neither of us will ever forget.”
A400M Team Leader, James Dowson, said:
“This has been a unique and memorable development opportunity for Catherine and Christian, and also very useful for helping the outputs of the Delivery Team. They have captured insightful feed-back from the aircrew and maintainers who operate and support the aircraft on a daily basis in a demanding environment, which will allow us to improve our support to A400M operations in the Falkland Islands.”