Special Forces Pilot (Paperback)
A Flying Memoir of the Falklands War
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The author, who served throughout the Falklands War with 846 Naval Air Squadron flying Sea King helicopters, has waited over twenty-five years to tell his story. The sensitive nature of his experiences not only made this a sensible course but today provides the reader with some fascinating insights into the conduct of operations.
The role of Dick Hutchings was to insert Special Force units onto the enemy occupied islands, either to gather intelligence or conduct offensive operations, such as the SAS's sensationally successful Pebble Island raid.
Without doubt the most dramatic task he undertook was the ambitious but ill-fated SAS raid into mainland Argentina. Operation MIKADO, as it was known, has been little discussed but, as Captain of the Sea King involved, the author gives a firsthand account of what went wrong both in the air and on the ground.
He describes the circumstances leading up to the crash-landing and destruction of his helicopter, encounters with the Chilean authorities and British diplomats in Santiago, as well as the debriefing in an M16 safe house on return to the UK. As well as being the fullest description of Operation MIKADO Special Forces Pilot is a gripping account of the War from the flying and SF angles.
As featured on BFBS Radio and in the Westmorland Gazette.
As Featured InModel Aircraft Magazine, Vol. 21 February 2022
This is an interesting account of part of the Falklands War that I haven't read much about before, in particular the operations on the mainland of South America.www.historyofwar.org
Dick Hutchings won the Distinguished Flying Cross for his heroic actions during the Falklands War – but for a quarter of a century he has remained silent about his involvement in the conflict. Now, in this riveting book, he reveals for the first time the story of his work as a special forces pilot and, in particular, what went wrong both in the air and on the ground during Operation Mikado – the ill-fated bid to land SAS soldiers in Argentina so they could carry out covert operations. The sensitive nature of his experiences provide the reader with some fascinating insights into the conduct of operations.Lancashire Telegraph
Like the author, I flew Royal Navy helicopters in the 80s and 90s. As a Wasp and Lynx pilot I served two tours in the Falklands but did not serve in the conflict itself and I take my hat off to those that did. I did work with Dick for a couple of years at Boscombe Down and was amazed by his modesty given his stories from the war and Distinguished Service Cross. I have used his book a couple of times for source material about his one way flight to Chile carrying an SAS raiding party. It really is edge of the seat, 'boys own' stuff. For anyone interested in the Fleet Air Arm, maritime helicopter operations or the Falklands Conflict should definitely own this book.Christopher Taylor
This is the remarkable story of one man’s service in the Royal Navy, RAF and the Royal Naval Reserve Air Branch of the Fleet Air Arm. It is a flying career which lasted for an impressive 51 years and in which Warrant Officer Class 1 John Sheldon amassed over 8,000 hours in the air. Having joined the Royal Navy in 1968, as a fifteen-year-old boy entrant not long out of school, John was recruited into the Fleet Air Arm as a junior electrician. He went on to become a Commando Aircrewman and flew in all types of service helicopters and in all of their roles, from Arctic training in Norway to the…By John Sheldon
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