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Military Mountain Flying Training
Snowdonia Rotary MFTA
230 Squadron Puma HC.2 'Black Peter'
May 2015

Flying training in the Snowdonia Rotary - Mountain Flying Training Area (MFTA)

May 2015
230 Squadron from RAF Benson deployed two Westland Puma helicopters to RAF Valley for mountain flying training. Only one of these was seen on the day of the visit but was the very welcome and specially painted 'Black Peter'.

The original 'Black Peter' from World War II
In March 2014 the recently upgraded Puma HC.2 (ZJ955) was painted black with Far East Asia Command roundel and markings applied, to commemorate a Shorts Sunderland (JM673) with 230 Squadron painted in a similar scheme and known as 'Black Peter' which went missing in 1944. On November 28, 1944, 'Black Peter' was flown by Flight Lieutenant Kenneth Ingham of the Royal Australian Air Force to fly an anti-submarine mission along the eastern coast of Ceylon (now Sri Lanka). The aircraft took off from RAF Koggala at 06:45 and was scheduled to return at 20:00. When it failed to return an extensive air sea rescue search was mounted but after many days not a trace was found and to this day, 'Black Peter' is still missing along with it's crew of ten. The weather had been poor and no signals were received.

Puma HC.2 (ZJ955 'P') better known as 'Black Peter' the Snowdonia Mountain Flying Training Area.
Left to right: Eurocopter Puma HC.2 (ZJ955 'P') of 230 Squadron callsign 'Baron' in the MFTA.
 
Puma HC.2 (ZJ955 'P') on approach to a landing zone.
Left to right: Puma HC.2 (ZJ955 'P') of 230 Squadron callsign 'Baron' in the MFTA.
 
This is a full frame 400mm lens hand-held tipped on its side, which was not easy at all.
Left to right: Puma HC.2 (ZJ955 'P') of 230 Squadron callsign 'Baron' in the MFTA.
It was so close I was getting wet from the spray.