Well there’s no getting away from it; the world seems to have gone Star Wars mad with the new movie Star Wars: The Force Awakens hitting cinemas earlier this week to applause from fans and critics alike. Now it seems even the British Army Air Corps are getting their share of the success with news that they are assisting in the filming of Rogue One: A Star Wars story expected out next year.
The makers of Star Wars, Lucasfilm and Disney have hired members of the British Army to serve as extras in the upcoming movie about the mission to steal the Death Star plans. Director Gareth Edwards said he planned to make the most realistic sci-fi combat experience yet with Rogue One and to do that he needed people who really what air combat was really like.
One extra/Army Air Corps pilot said to Forces.TV;
All the guys on our squadron are massive Star Wars fans. When our Officer Commanding asked us if we wanted to be an extra in the next film during a morning brief, nobody put their hands up. We all thought it must be a wind-up. It took him most of the day to convince us that he really did know someone who was looking for a body of men to mill around in the background and do what they were told.
No.674 Squadron Army Air Corps and No.703 Naval Air Squadron both of which provide elementary flying training to the pilots of the British Army and Royal Navy respectively at Royal Air Force Barkston Heath have temporarily relocated to RAF College Cranwell. The two squadrons which utilise the Grob Tutor 115E aircraft are undertaking the relocation while the facilities at RAF Barkston Heath are renovated by civilian contractors. Both services claim that the temporary relocation of the two squadrons will not impact on their training programs.
The work being carried out at RAF Barkston Heath is to make the site ready for the new Military Flying Training System which is set to be operational there by 2017. The new training system will provide elementary flying training to all three services with the new Grob 120TP aircraft. Elementary flight training teaches the very basics of powered flight to prospective military pilots and must be carried out even by those earmarked to fly helicopters. Typically the current training syllabus allows for around 60 flying hours on the Grob Tutor before the trainee proceeds to whichever branch of military flying their career is heading – fast jet, multi-engine or rotary (helicopters).