Apprentices rise to the challenge at RAF Coningsby

Sophie Oates and Ryan Robinson
Sophie Oates and Ryan Robinson

Two BAE Systems apprentices are put to the test with a uniquie opportunity to work on the Battle of Britain Memorial Flight.

Two BAE Systems apprentices have been given a unique opportunity to hone their skills on the RAF Battle Of Britain Memorial Flight (BBMF) at RAF Coningsby.

The two apprentices, Ryan Robinson and Sophie Oates, recently graduated from the Aircraft Maintenance Academy at Humberside and have been working with the flight during the winter maintenance schedule.

Having completed their apprenticeship on Typhoon at RAF Coningsby, Ryan and Sophie have put their skills to the test during their time working with the flight.

Ryan has been part of a team completing an annual service on Spitfire P7350 - the only remaining airworthy Spitfire which flew in the Battle of Britain.

Meanwhile, Sophie has been part of the team that has carried out the annual service on Hurricane PZ865, the last Hurricane ever to come off the production line at Langley, Buckinghamshire in July 1944.

On working with the flight, Ryan said: “The experience has already given me a multitude of experiences.

“I’ve used skills that we learned at the training academy which I never thought I would put into practice as some aren’t required on the Typhoon Platform, but are on these historic aircraft, such as aircraft skin and fabric repairs”.

Sophie added: “This opportunity to work with the BBMF has tested our skills as Aircraft Maintainers and we both soon learned that the aircraft in BBMF do not have the extensive fault diagnosis systems that are available on Typhoon”.

Due to their hard work, Sophie and Ryan have been asked if they would like to extend their time working with the flight through to its busiest time of year - flying season.

From May to September each year, the BBMF aircraft can be regularly seen in the skies over the UK celebrating and commemorating public and military events from state occasions such as Trooping the Colour to major air displays and simple flypasts for public events.