The Princess of Wales has visited Royal Naval Air Station (RNAS) Yeovilton, one of the Royal Navy’s two principal air stations, and one of the busiest military airfields in the UK.
RNAS Yeovilton is home to a number of front-line squadrons and training units, including the Wildcat Maritime Force.
In her role as the Commodore-in-Chief of the Fleet Air Arm, the Princess of Wales spent three hours at the air station – which is home to front-line Merlin and Wildcat helicopters supporting Royal Navy and Royal Marine operations worldwide.
The visit follows the recent announcement that His Majesty The King has appointed The Princess, Commodore-in-Chief, Fleet Air Arm (FAA).
During the visit, Her Royal Highness spent time in the Air Traffic Control (ATC) tower, where she met ATC staff and spoke with an airborne Wildcat crew.
Following this, The Princess had the opportunity to visit a hangar to engage with personnel and hear about different operations within the Fleet Air Arm. Her Royal Highness met with Royal Navy Survival Equipment (SE) Technicians who provide specialist training and equipment to protect and enhance the Fleet Air Arm’s aviation operations.
The Princess then met servicemen and women and viewed two helicopters – the Merlin MK2 and MK4 – before visiting to the Wildcat Training Centre, to meet the loading team who are trained to fit a variety of weapons to the Wildcat MK2 helicopter.
Finally The Princess then piloted a Wildcat MK2 in a simulator which allows aircrew to practice flying over land or on to ships.
Her Royal Highness’ introduction to naval aviation began with a roar as an F-35B Lightning ‘buzzed’ Yeovilton’s control tower; the stealth fighters are the most advanced aircraft in the UK’s military arsenal and are currently operating aboard the nation’s flagship, HMS Queen Elizabeth, on her autumn deployment.
By all accounts Kate was an excellent naval aviator with “excellent spacial awareness” and “superb concentration skills.”