Bishop Helen-Ann in pilot's seat during visit to RAF Leeming

Having a bishop in the cockpit of a jet plane is not a common occurrence, but that’s exactly what happened during a recent visit by the Rt Revd Dr Helen-Ann Hartley, Bishop of Ripon, to RAF Leeming.

Bishop Helen-Ann was visiting 100 Squadron, learning about their work before the squadron is disbanded next year.

After spending time with the squadron’s chaplain, the Revd Squadron Leader Geoffrey Firth, Bishop Helen- Ann was introduced to one of the pilots from 100 Squadron and sat in the pilot’s seat of one of their T1 Hawk jets.

She was then shown the newer T2 Hawk jets that have recently arrived at RAF Leeming as part of the base’s hosting of the Qatar Emiri Air Force over the next few years, before visiting the Joint Forward Air Control Training and Standardisation Unit to learn about their work, and the installation of new special hardware to enable simulation training.  

Bishop Helen-Ann said: “Given the prominence of the military presence in the northern part of the Diocese, and the important work undertaken by military chaplains, my recent visit was an excellent opportunity to connect and learn more, and achieve a long-held ambition to see a T1 jet up close and personal!”

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