Bo’nessian Mark takes his navy career to new heights

submitted pic
submitted pic

FORMER Bo’ness Academy student is preparing to fly the Lynx Attack helicopter and could be deployed anywhere in the world.

Anthony Finnie (29) has graduated from basic flying training at Royal Naval Air Station Culdrose in Cornwall, to prepare for training on the Lynx Attack helicopter.

Anthony, or Mark as he is usually known, joined the Royal Navy in 2010 as an observer – one of the Royal Navy’s airborne warfighters, and is keen to progress to the front line, where he will deploy on frigate or destroyer warships.

His training has been rigorous and demanding, and he has had to be selected from the many who apply to fly for the Navy and pass the basic flying training course at 750 Naval Air Squadron – reputed to be one of the toughest in the Royal Navy. Here he has learned to take command of an aircraft, and on occasions several aircraft, to achieve a mission safely.

Observer training is regarded as one of the most difficult courses in the UK’s Armed Forces, with 16 gruelling weeks of constant assessment on the squadron. The first course is part of the UK Military Flying Training System, which oversees the instruction of novice aviators in all three Armed Forces.

Mark, who grew up in Bo’ness and left Bo’ness Academy in 2002, said: “The course has been a real challenge, which has made it all the more rewarding to pass. The highlight was definitely flying the aircraft to Rome and back as one of our final assessments.”

He added: “I am looking forward to my next challenge – learning to fly and fight the Lynx Attack Helicopter from ships – who knows where I will be this time next year!”

Royal Navy aircrew undergo one of the most intensive selection and training processes in the world, and after 750 Naval Air Squadron based at RNAS Culdrose in Cornwall, they move on to either the Merlin anti-submarine helicopter, Sea King Airborne Surveillance and Control or Lynx Maritime Attack helicopters.