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Queen advertises for new helicopter pilot

Ever wanted to work with The Queen? Ever wanted to fly helicopters? Well today is your lucky day as the Royal Household advertise for someone to captain The Queen’s Helicopter flight and ferry members of the Royal Family around the country on engagements.

medium_8484063666The advertisement specifies for £75,000 a year ‘plus benefits’, the successful applicant can look forward to flying one of the two privately operated helicopters within the royal flight, the long-standing Sikorsky S76 which has been used by the Royal Family since 2009 and also the newly-acquired Agusta Westland 109S which was added to the flight a few months ago.

Based in Odiham, Hampshire, The Queen’s helicopter flight provides transport for members of the Royal Family carrying out engagements. Frequently, many of their engagements involve long-distance travelling and the helicopter flight exists to try and reduce travel times so as to reduce the strain on older royals as well as saving time for more engagements. It also allows members of the Royal Family to reach all the corners of the country with relative ease.

As neither the Royal Household or the Royal Family personally own a private jet, the helicopter is often the quickest and most cost-effective method of transport, able to reach speeds of up to 178mph and travel over distances of over 400 miles before refuelling.

Each year, the Royal Household spends an average of £2m on helicopter usage which is met through state funding as the helicopter flight is used to carry out official engagements on behalf of the nation.

According to the advertisement for the job on the royal website, the Aircraft Captain will be required to complete “safe and efficient execution of the flight” as well as achieving the “highest operating standards, accuracy, attention to detail and commitment to the task”.

Working as part of the Lord Chamberlain’s office, the ‘Aircraft Captain of The Queen’s helicopter flight’ (to give the position its full title) will be required to carry out duties across the UK and also be willing to stay overnight as well, taking a ‘flexible’ approach to their role.

As part of the arrangements for the flight, the helicopter must be allocated for use by The Queen personally – who decides which member of the Royal Family may use the flight on certain days. With the recent addition of the second helicopter to the flight, members of the Royal Family will have a back-up option should they be travelling long distances when the other helicopter is in use.

The Royal Family has quite an extensive history and association with air travel, starting with Edward VIII who became the first Monarch to fly in 1936 and shortly after established the first royal flight (the King’s flight) which he used his personal twin-engine Dragon Rapide for. The flight had to be disbanded during the Second World War though was resumed shortly after at greater strength.

Many members of the Royal Family have themselves learned to fly over the years including many members of the present Royal Family including the Duke of Edinburgh, Prince of Wales and Duke of Cambridge and Prince Harry, though none personally fly the helicopter flight on engagements.

The Queen’s Helicopter flight itself was instituted in 1998 and has carried on ever since then, transporting members of the Royal Family on engagements across the country, clocking up hundreds of hours of airtime every year in the process.

With applications closing on 25th September, the post is open to suitable applicants to apply to on the royal website until then.

photo credit: markyharky via photopin cc

  • Dwc

    A member of the RAF should be assigned to HMS Service.

  • Earl of Rochester

    The QHF is no longer based at Blackbushe Aerodrome but at RAF Odiham. Both are in Hampshire but Blackbushe is not in Odiham as reported.

    You have stated that the Royal Household does not own a jet (fixed-wing) and this is because international air transport is provided by either an approved charter vendor or by No. 32 Squadron at RAF Northolt.

    However, the helicopter flight does not exist because of a lack of access to a jet (as reported) but because helicopters are able to respond to the logistical requirements of the Household in a way which fixed-wing aircraft cannot. Specifically, by providing point-to-point travel.

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