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Thomas Best | Live Chat Air Engineering Technician


About Thomas Best

Hi, my name is Thomas Best and I am an Air Engineering Technician in the Royal Navy's Fleet Air Arm. I work with 702 Naval Air Squadron, which is based in Yeovilton, Somerset. My job is to provide maintenance and ground support for the Royal Navy's Lynx Mk.3 and Mk.8 aircraft. I am also a team member for the Royal Navy Helicopter Display Team, The Black Cats.

My squadron's primary role is to provide training for both aircrew and maintainers before releasing them to the fleet. I have been in the Royal Navy for 18 months now, so I'm working towards being fully trained, getting some great experience that will be invaluable when I go to sea. I've already spent some time on HMS Ark Royal, an awesome Aircraft Carrier, and HMS Exeter, a Type 42 Destroyer and I'm hoping to be drafted to HMS Endurance, an Antarctic Ice Patrol Ship.

Being in the Fleet Air Arm has been a great start to my career with the Royal Navy. It's shore-based so I have been able to visit home most weekends and keep the family up-to-date with all my news and new experiences.


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Question 1. Brian: Hi Thomas, I see you work with helicopters, do you ever work on the Navy's Harrier's at all?

13:59

Thomas Best: in response to Question 1.

Hi Thomas, I see you work with helicopters, do you ever work on the Navy's Harrier's at all?

Hi Brian, during Phase Two training, at HMS Sultan in Gosport, you are streamed towards either Lynx, Seaking, Merlin or Harrier; you then tend to stay with this type of aircraft.

Question 2. Niall Burns: Hi there When on deployment are you attached to a specific ship or do you hop from ship to ship with the helicopter? Also do you stay with a certain helicopter and crew or do you change depending on the situation and location?

13:59

Thomas Best: in response to Question 2.

Hi there

When on deployment are you attached to a specific ship or do you hop from ship to ship with the helicopter? Also do you stay with a certain helicopter and crew or do you change depending on the situation and location?

Hello, as a Lynx specialist AET we are deployed on the back end of small ships - frigates and destroyers. If you specialise with either Seaking, Merlin or Harrier then circumstances are differnent. However as a general rule you tend to stay with a specific ship on a deployment. A Lynx crew is very small, only ten people, and you will remain with just one aircraft.
Thank you.

Question 3. Rosemary Udosen: whats the difference between Air Engineering Technician and Aircraft Handler

14:01

Thomas Best: in response to Question 3.

whats the difference between Air Engineering Technician and Aircraft Handler

Hello Rosemary, as an AET you are involved in maintaining the aircraft - servicing it before and after the flight and also carrying out routine work such as regular checks on the engine, hydraulics or fuel systems. The Aircraft Handler is involved in marshalling the aircraft, preparing the flight deck or moving the aircaft either on board a ship like the aircraft carriers or working at an air station - they also carry out aircraft fire fighting.

Question 4. solomon denis ashiekaa: hi, are you there?

14:04

Thomas Best: in response to Question 4.

hi, are you there?

Hi Solomon, we will get to your question shortly. Hang in there :)

Question 5. ZoeQ: I'm hoping to join the Fleet Air Arm next year as aircrew. How are you enjoying yourtime at Yeovilton?

14:02

Thomas Best: in response to Question 5.

I'm hoping to join the Fleet Air Arm next year as aircrew. How are you enjoying yourtime at Yeovilton?

Hello there Zoe, I absolutely love the Fleet Air Arm. I have been lucky as I managed to get the aircraft type and Naval Air Station I wanted. I am in the engineering branch as opposed to pilot or observer, however I work alongside aircrew day in day out. Yeovilton has so much to offer, both inside and outside of work. You meet new friends all the time, the Fleet Air Arm is one big family.
Thanks

Question 6. solomon denis ashiekaa: pls. tell me how life in the navy looks like

14:03

Thomas Best: in response to Question 6.

pls. tell me how life in the navy looks like

Hi Solomon, do you mean what is life like in the Navy? Is there a particular aspect you would like more information on? Thank you.

Question 7. stephen: whats it like being away from you familly for a long time

14:06

Thomas Best: in response to Question 7.

whats it like being away from you familly for a long time

Hi Stephen, I haven't been lucky enough to go away on a deployment yet so in terms of being away from my family, I couldn't really say. As a lynx AET, the only time that I get to go away is when the aircraft is embarked on a Frigate or a Destroyer. The most I have been away from home is 3 weeks; it was hard work but great fun!

Question 8. Anthony Peers: I have applied for aircrew as a pilot and have my AIB at the end of next month. Was wondering if you had any advice.

14:03

Thomas Best: in response to Question 8.

I have applied for aircrew as a pilot and have my AIB at the end of next month. Was wondering if you had any advice.

Hello Anthony, your local careers office should be able to help with advice for the AIB - they have an ACLO who will help people applying for officer training. The 08456075555 number will steer you in the right direction.

Question 9. ashley lewin: how old was you when you joined the royal navy

14:16

Thomas Best: in response to Question 9.

how old was you when you joined the royal navy

Hi Ashley, I was 19 when I joined the Navy which seemed like the right time for me; however, many people join earlier and some join later. You can start the recruiting process at 15 years and 9 months. Thanks

Question 10. Jonna Salvesen: Hi Thomas, I'm a female student and have just finished my second year at university. I'm seriously considering applying to the Navy and was wondering what life in the Royal Navy is like?

14:17

Thomas Best: in response to Question 10.

Hi Thomas,
I'm a female student and have just finished my second year at university. I'm seriously considering applying to the Navy and was wondering what life in the Royal Navy is like?

Hello Jonna, have you thought what role you might apply for?

THOMAS'S PROFILE

Name: Thomas Best
Rank: AET
Position: Air Engineering Technician

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Pay Bracket: 16k - 27k
Current Post: 702 NAS, RNAS Yeovilton