Awards for the latest batch of future pilots and crewmen to graduate from the UK's Defence Helicopter Flying School (DHFS) at Royal Air Force (RAF) Shawbury include the Virtalis Trophy, won by Sergeant Ollie Smith, a weapons systems operator. He achieved the highest marks in flying duties and synthetic training. Both the DHFS at RAF Shawbury, and the Search and Rescue Training Unit (SARTU) at RAF Valley use the Vertalis virtual Helicopter Crew Reality (HCR) training systems.
Students completing the multi-engine advanced rotary wing course at Shawbury have undergone 13 months training in both types of helicopter operated at the school, Squirrels and Griffins. Once the course is finished, they become pilots and weapons systems operators in Chinooks, Merlins, and SAR Sea Kings.
Flight Lt. Haydn Wiggin won two of the remaining four awards: the Sir Arthur Marshal trophy that goes to the student pilot who achieves the highest marks in flying duties as well as the Group Captain Harding trophy, awarded to the student pilot who achieves the highest marks overall in navigation. The remaining awards went to Sgt. James House with the Wing Commander Fraser Trophy for the highest marks in ground subjects, and finally the Griffin Trophy, awarded to Flight Lt. Chris Greenside, the course member who contributed the most to the spirit of the squadron and course.
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