The Royal Air Force has been conducting a series of long-range training missions over the last couple of months, and many have been stopping over in Denver, Colorado. Paul Filmer writes.
Alongside the odd C-17 have been the newest aircraft in the RAF’s inventory, the Airbus A400M Atlas C.1. The aircraft paid their first ever visits to the area, using Denver International Airport as a convenient night-stop.
To date all the crews have been Tristar, VC10 and Hercules fleet re-assignments, and require differential training on the new systems.
Two squadrons, 24 and 206(R), have been involved so far with 70 still waiting to receive its first crews.
Generally, only a single crew is assigned to each mission, which also includes loadmaster training, and each leg is designed to be well within the Atlas’ maximum duty hours.
These missions are designed to give worldwide operations experience to the new crews, with exposure to operational areas such as oceanic flights, remote areas, different air traffic control and different types of airfields.
This also gives crews exposure to more complex fuel planning and worldwide weather system planning as the distances become greater.
Other cities that have seen the Atlas include Quebec, Bermuda and Washington D.C.
It’s certainly nice to see the newest RAF aircraft spreading their wings in Colorado.