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Defence Helicopter Flying School

Formation Squirrels

705 Naval Air Squadron
705 Naval Air Squadron 
Prior to commencing flying, Navy, Army and RAF students attend 3-weeks of ground school studies, which includes studies in helicopter principles of flight, meteorology and navigation, and related technical subjects. Students are thus prepared for their 35-hour single-engine basic flying course on the Squirrel HT1. The basic syllabus includes techniques such as hovering and circuits, and advanced exercises which include engine-off landings, low flying and limited power.

After completing the basic 8-week course students then move on to the advanced single-engine phase with 705 Naval Air Squadron, commanded by a Royal Navy Lieutenant-Commander. The advanced single-engine course develops basic flying skills and introduces students to instrument and low level flying, navigation, landing in confined areas and night flying.

Mountain FlyingMountain Flying RAF students move on to their multi-engine training after 5 weeks, while Army students complete 9 weeks training before they leave to start their Operational Training Phase at Middle Wallop. Royal Navy students, however, continue their training with 705 Sqn to cover formation flying, winch training and mountain flying to complete 45 hours over 11 weeks.

705 Sqn is also responsible for a number of other courses such as aircraft conversion, refresher, navigator and crewman lead-in and Harrier pilot hovering familiarisation.

Squirrel HT1

The Squirrel HT1 is a single-engine light training helicopter operated by DHFS. It is powered by the Ariel 1D1 gas turbine engine, which drives a conventional 3-blade main rotor and a twin-blade tail rotor.

As a basic trainer it provides an excellent lead-in to helicopter pilots of the 3 Services who must have already completed their elementary fixed wing aircraft training. The Squirrel HT1 is also used on the advanced single-engine phase as students prepare for the complexities of twin-engine helicopter training and operational flying.

Squirrel HT1
Cruise Speed: 120 kts
Max Ceiling: 16,000 ft
Endurance: 3 hrs
Min Crew: 1 (single pilot)
Max Persons on Board: 6
Max Weight for Take Off: 2,250kg

After the completion of BFT, students are streamed onto either the Lynx Mk8 or Sea King Mk4 based at RNAS Yeovilton or the Merlin HM1 stationed at RNAS Culdrose.