Pictured is Senior Aircraft Technician SAC(T) Proffitt who is a General Technician Mechanical (GTM) Reserve for 5001 Squadron (Sqn) is deployed on Operation SHADER.

Stepping away from McLaren Automotive to support operations in the Middle East

Senior Aircraft Technician Proffitt swapped her regular role working with McLaren’s first-ever Hyper-GT to working with ground support equipment in Cyprus

Royal Air Force Reservist Senior Aircraft Technician (SAC(T)) Proffitt has just returned from Cyprus where her work has helped operations in the Middle East. She was responsible for the scheduled maintenance and repair of all ground support equipment including vehicles, generators and hydraulic rigs.

Senior Aircraft Technician (SAC(T)) Proffitt hard at work in Cyprus on Operation SHADER.

Her role in Cyprus supported the campaign to defeat the global terrorist group Daesh.

Based out of Cyprus, the Royal Air Force continues to survey and strike targets in Iraq and Syria as part of the Global Coalition under the banner of Op SHADER.

In her day job, she works for McLaren Automotive where she is responsible for the delivery of the McLaren Speedtail Hyper-GT.

While in Cyprus she was attached to 5001 Squadron, whose role is to maintain the technical working practices, deployed as environmental protection for aircraft and personnel.

Senior Aircraft Technician (SAC(T)) Proffitt in Cyprus on Operation SHADER.
Senior Aircraft Technician (SAC(T)) Proffitt in Cyprus on Operation SHADER.

She spoke with us on her return from Cyprus 🇨🇾

What’s it been like to deploy on operations?

“Operation SHADER has expanded my experiences and given me the opportunity to work alongside regular RAF personnel. I have developed and strengthened transferable workplace skills such as resilience, communication and teamwork.

What was day to day life like on deployment?

Once I had completed my training I fitted into the team seamlessly being able to carry out each task, troubleshoot and problem-solving where required.

“Due to the volume of work that we had in Cyprus, it was imperative that I could complete all of the multiple tasks required to fulfil the role. Therefore my day to day was varied, which kept me on my toes and always learning. Each alternate day we would move onto a new piece of equipment, so very quickly there was a sense of satisfaction as each task was being complete.

Left: A RAF Typhoon over Iraq on Op SHADER. Right: A RAF Typhoon takes off at sunset from RAF Akrotiri in Cyprus.

What’s it like being a reservist?

“I am very fortunate that my employer, McLaren, are very supportive of my role in the RAF Reserves and give me the flexibility to deploy on operations when required.

What’s the most interesting thing you saw or did?

“I really enjoyed having the opportunity to see Typhoons. I think for me as a technician in the Royal Air Force I have had little opportunity to get up close to any Aircraft.

“Seeing Typhoons take off from Akrotiri, you really get a sense of realisation that this is what all of my training has been for and no matter what your role is, your output is constantly supporting keeping our aircraft in the skies.”

Senior Aircraft Technician (SAC(T)) Proffitt hard at work in Cyprus on Operation SHADER.
Senior Aircraft Technician (SAC(T)) Proffitt hard at work in Cyprus on Operation SHADER.

What was the biggest challenge you faced?

“I would say initially the stricter routine. I am used to planning my diary and workload as I see fit. This became less intense very quickly as the management who were in charge and experts in the role were great at planning the work and workload with the personnel that they had.

“I recognised immediately that it was the strict routine that was giving us such a good efficient output and it just became part of the role.

Tell us about the McLaren Speedtail Hyper-GT.

“The Speedtail is no stranger to the RAF, since its overwhelming high-speed battle on Top Gear with the F-35 Lightning at RAF Marham. This was a huge career highlight for me in the RAF and at McLaren, seeing these two amazing feats of engineering put through their paces”.

A Royal Air Force F-35B Lightning made a special appearance on BBC Top Gear on 8 February 2020. Credit: BBC Top Gear

Take a look at the full video down below👇

Find out where the UK Armed Forces are deployed here:👇



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