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My First Blog by Ricky Fairlamb, Aircraft Engineering Technician, 820 Squadron

Hello and welcome to my first blog. I’ve got quite a bit to share in this first message, as it’s been a very busy January. After returning to work from Christmas leave I headed straight of to Les Menuires, France for the 2009 Navy Ski Championships. When I finally decided to get back to doing some actual work I was given some bad news. I was told that I would not be deploying with the rest of my squadron on an upcoming embarkation, instead I would be going with a few others to rebuild a Merlin Helicopter that has been dismantled for a very long time.

Ski Champs’09 was nothing short of amazing. I’ve attended this event twice now and vow to go every year I possible can. There were 4 people in the group I went with, 3 mates and myself all from 820 squadron. We flew from Exeter to Geneva then transferred in to the resort via coach. The first couple of days we took it easy getting used to the slopes again, then we entered our races. I snowboard so I entered the GS (grand slalom) and the Dual slalom. I did relatively well in both but was particularly happy getting 14 in the GS. I have never raced before, and I haven’t been on a board for 2 years.

The majority of the week we had good weather, it was slightly hard pack snow for the first couple of days. Two days in, it snowed very heavily over night; we woke up and were very excited, as we knew this meant we could go off piste, which was awesome!! The only let down of the week was the final day, it was raining, this caused the snow to turn very slushy and made skiing impossible. The Navy strongly encourage any kind of adventurous training or sport and reward participation with financial compensation for trip expenses.

Back at work, finding out I would not be going away with my squadron was very disappointing, however, the job ill be doing in place of sailing the seas is going to provide a great challenge and a huge sense of achievement if it all goes right.

We have been tasked with rebuilding a Merlin that has been out of service for some time. Almost every component has been removed as well as some major pieces of the airframe.

As you can see from this picture we certainly have our work cut out. This picture was taken today 3/2/09 as the weeks go on I will continue to take photos and log the progress we achieve with this “cab”. We have a team of 12 and are expecting to take about 6 months to have it flying again. How feasible this is we shall see.

Hope you enjoyed reading my first post keep looking out for updates.

Cheers for reading.

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