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Prince Andrew flies final helicopter simulation

The Duke of York with crews at RNAS Yeovilton Photo: MoD

The Duke of York visited RNAS Yeovilton today to mark the end of service of the Lynx Mk3 Full Mission Simulator (FMS) having himself first flown in it in 1984.

The Royal Navy's Lynx Mk3 helicopters have come to the end of their operational lives so the simulator is also being withdrawn. It has helped ensure the helicopter crews are ready to deal with anything for over three decades.

Commodore Jock Alexander and the Duke of York at 702 Naval Air Squadron Credit: MoD

The Duke was guest of honour and flew the last sortie with Lt Cdr John Hartley, one of the pilot instructors

It was a great pleasure to have such a senior member of the Royal Family to share the occasion and particularly apt, due to the Duke’s long association with the Lynx Simulator. His Royal Highness trained in the Simulator in 1984 prior to his tour in HMS Brazen, then again in 1989 as he took over as the Flight Commander in HMS Campletown. Finally, over a decade after his first trip in the Simulator, the Duke of York was flying it again as he prepared to become the Senior Pilot of 815 Naval Air Squadron

– Lt Cdr John Hartley, Pilot instructor
Staff, students and industry partners in front of the "Box" - the simulator that has helped trained so many Lynx crews over 33 years Credit: MoD

Crews trained in the simulator have gone on to fly all around the world and have been involved in numerous conflicts, most notably in the Falklands. They have also tackled piracy off the Horn of Africa and flown anti-drugs operations in the Caribbean.

In 33 years, the Mk3 simulator has flown more than 75,000 hours, achieved 40,000 missions and trained 400 Lynx pilots and 300 Lynx observers. It has also been used by the army and by other countries.

At today's farewell were previous Officers in Charge, current staff, industry partners from Thales and CAE - and students from the last training course to fly in the simulator.