Views from the Fleet Flagship 2

Posted on Thursday 27 May 2021

Keeping connected with the ‘largest wardroom afloat’, our second ‘Views from the Fleet Flagship’ focuses on Air Traffic Controller Lt Danny Cairns. Danny joined the Royal Navy in 2016 as an Able Seaman (Hydrography, Meteorological and Oceanographic Specialist) before commissioning as Air Traffic Control in 2019. He is a Portsmouth local, an RN Compass Advocate and an active supporter of ARNO and the RNOC.
What is your role onboard?
I am one of the Air Traffic Controllers onboard HMS Queen Elizabeth. My core role sees me controlling 5th Generation Aircraft alongside the already established Fleet Air Arm Cadre. As the first ATC Ab Initio to join QNLZ straight from training, I spend most of my time transferring the recently taught, land based skills into a more relevant maritime environment. In my off watch I unwind by catching up on much needed sleep after night flying, socialising with others onboard or organising potential fixtures for the QNLZ Hockey Team.
What has the ship been up to in the last fortnight?
In the last two weeks onboard, the ship returned to Portsmouth post Strike Warrior for resupply before embarking onto Ex STEADFAST DEFENDER and ATLANTIC TRIDENT, working alongside NATO partners and allies en route to the Mediterranean. The ship saw an intense period of flying providing Carrier Qualifications for the Jets whilst also embarking 845 Squadron ready for the Mediterranean transit. A particular highlight of mine was the beginning of my live Tower Control training which saw me land a pair of F35’s and a Merlin Mk2 simultaneously with the coast of Portugal as the backdrop; quite a difference from the Shropshire based training I had come from.
The ship is now entering a phase which sees multiple VIP visits, a trip to Sicily and operations with our French allies onboard the Charles De Gaulle.
Many thanks Lt Danny Cairns – we look forward to another update from HMS Queen Elizabeth soon.

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