Royal Air Force Master Aircrew exceeds 9000 flying hours

According to information published by the Royal Air Force on June 14, 2021, a Master Aircrew has achieved the extremely rare feat of amassing 9000 flying hours whilst operating RAF helicopters.

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Royal Air Force Master Aircrew exceeds 9000 flying hours Chinook helicopter (Picture source: Royal Air Force)

Master Aircrew Ruffles passed the career landmark while deployed as a Crewman Instructor with 1310 Flight. This Flight is currently the Chinook detachment that is deployed to provide a heavy-lift capability for the French Operation Barkhane counter-insurgency mission in West Africa.

The current 1310 Flight that Ruffles is serving with is formed mainly from 27 Squadron personnel and arrived in Mali during January 2021. Since deploying to Mali 1310 Flight have transported over 18,000 soldiers, and flown over 3000 hours.

The Boeing CH-47 Chinook is an American twin-engined, tandem-rotor, heavy-lift helicopter developed by American rotorcraft company Vertol and manufactured by Boeing Vertol (later renamed Boeing Helicopter and now named Boeing Rotorcraft Systems). The CH-47 is among the heaviest lifting Western helicopters. Its name, Chinook, is from the Native American Chinook people of Washington state.

Operation Barkhane is an ongoing anti-insurgent operation that started on August 1, 2014, and is led by the French military against Islamist groups in Africa's Sahel region.

It consists of a roughly 5,000-strong French force, which is permanently headquartered in N’Djamena, the capital of Chad. The operation is led in co-operation with five countries, all of which are former French colonies that span the Sahel: Burkina Faso, Chad, Mali, Mauritania, and Niger.

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