1 November 2011
This year’s Commemoration ceremonies on 19 October were particularly poignant for Flight Lieutenant Chris Shone who studied Aeronautics at Imperial from 2004- 2008: but due to commitments in the RAF he has been unable to attend his graduation ceremony until this year. Reporter spoke to Chris to find out how his degree has served him in the Forces and how he felt about finally making it to the Royal Albert Hall.
How did you keep up your training when you were studying at Imperial?
I joined the University of London Air Squadron which is based in Brompton Road. I got the chance to fly in a variety of RAF aircraft, experience life on RAF Stations and receive regular training sessions on the RAF’s role in the world.
You started your official RAF training shortly after you finished your degree - did your degree help you?
By having a firm grounding from my Imperial degree, I have a real appreciation of what design features affect an aircraft’s ability to operate, so I can confidently understand the impact of something like a crack in the airframe or a missing aerodynamic fairing, for example.
How did you manage to miss three graduation ceremonies?
Missing a day of training is really significant in the RAF as a lot of it is practical. In 2008 I had just started my Initial Officer Training at RAF Cranwell, in 2009 I was doing my Engineer Officer Foundation Training and last October I was tied up with my job as Officer Commanding Puma Component Servicing Flight. Just last week I returned from Afghanistan, working as a Military Assistant to a US General, based at Kandahar Airfield. I am currently on post operational leave which has afforded me the first opportunity in three years to graduate from Imperial.
How did it feel to return and finally graduate?
It was really nice to return to the College, catch up with lecturers and it was especially nice for my parents to finally get that photo on the wall!