UK fighter pilot to fly RCIPS chopper

| 22/08/2016 | 69 Comments
Cayman News Service

Richard Morcombe was in the Cayman Islands in 2010 and 2011, serving on relief duty

(CNS): The police have recruited a second pilot for the RCIPS Air Operations Unit (AOU). Richard Morcombe, who is currently flying with the UK National Police Air Service, is a former combat pilot with the British army. He actually flew the helicopter now operated by the RCIPS for four years when he was stationed at the NPAS East Midlands base before it was purchased by the Cayman government. Morcombe will join the team in mid-September. The RCIPS currently has only one pilot, which limits the use of the costly chopper.

A report by the UK Coastguard published earlier this year examining the circumstances surrounding a search and rescue in March in which five people died, including two children, highlighted the problems faced by the AOU with only one pilot.

Before joining the British police air service, Morcombe served in the army for 26 years, 14 of which were spent as a pilot in the army air corps, flying Gazelle and Lynx helicopters in combat roles.

He has been flying police helicopters for the last 13 years and has 7,000 hours of operational flight experience, including numerous daytime and nighttime overwater operations around the world, officials said in a release.

This will not be Morcombe’s first time in Cayman as he has previously flown two relief duty periods in the Cayman Islands in 2010 and 2011.

The issue of training locals to fly the helicopter and eventually become trained police pilots has caused controversy in the past. East End MLA Arden McLean raised the issue in parliament a number of times because a young relative of his had trained in the US to fly choppers but the RCIPS had decline to offer the young trainee any kind of apprenticeship.

During the budget debate in 2014, when McLean raised concerns about the failure of government to give Caymanians a chance in the civil service, he told his colleagues that his nephew had wanted to be a helicopter pilot since he was a child, and although he had learned to fly overseas and applied to join the local police, his application had been disregarded.

At the time however, Premier Alden McLaughlin berated his former PPM and Cabinet colleague and accused him of abusing his position in the LA to “blatantly” pursue the interests of a family member. He denied that the government had not tried to help his nephew and related the history about the young man’s application.

McLaughlin said the police pilot job required at least 1,000 hours of multi-engine turbine helicopter flight, which McLean’s nephew did not have.

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Category: Jobs, Local News, Police

Comments (69)

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  1. Anonymous says:

    Ex- fighter pilot with 7,000 hrs flying time or a Caymanian politicians relative who took a course. Boom! Big fight! West bay against East end. Again.Too funny.

  2. Anonymous says:

    I think we are missing the point regarding the hiring of a Caymanian helicopter pilot. What I think is being said is WHY is the government not investing in training a Caymanian or assisting a Caymanian who is already a helicopter pilot to get the hours and experience he needs to be able to be competitive and qualified to one day apply for this position. They force the private sector to invest in Caymanians so why does government not do the same. As usual with the government it is do as I say not as I do.

    • Anonymous says:

      Possibly because this kind of training is very expensive? We are talking $millions here.

      • Anonymous says:

        So what, morcombe got his training sponsored by the British ministry of defence while he was in the army, all 7000 hours worth.

    • Anonymous says:

      Because there is no such position achievable in this helicopter. Are you saying they should pay someone to spend probably about ten years gaining experience elsewhere. That is called getting off your backside and going yourself to get the experience by applying and committing yourself to a job, and the Government should not be paying for it. Same as the young caymanian pilots at Cayman Airways had to. No one paid for them to get their initial qualifications, and then they have to apply for the job, and get it – and some didn’t.

  3. Anonymous says:

    Say what you like, but the CAL training model has worked. There is a Caymanian, and former CAL pilot, who is today employed by Boeing to deliver planes all over the world for them as well provide training to the pilots of airlines buying from them. But that wouldn’t make the front page o the Compass now would it?
    This situation simply highlights the lack of any concept of development of local resources that has plagued the RCIPS forever.

  4. Anonymous says:

    OK this is the basic issue here. IF you want to pursue a particular career path that is unusual and requires specific qualifications, vocational or otherwise, one of the first things you should do is find out what the requirements are for that job. The first thing this young man should have done is talk to the police to see what their requirements would be. Even more so the Nation Building Fund should have done similar investigation to see if the course they were paying for was going to produce the qualifications that would lead to a career in Cayman and one of benefit to Cayman.

    Perhaps an inventive solution might be to purchase a crop dusting helicopter as a back up to the mosquito plane; that might be cheaper to run, allow him (and anyone else who want to train) to build up his flying hours and give some extra relief against the horrid mozzies. However I admit I have done no research and do not know if this is a creditable solution that is ideal for Cayman….

  5. Anonymous says:

    Dear Regular CNS Crowd,

    Kindly stop assuming that at times like these all of “Cayman” (btw, what does that make you and your colleagues – as you are clearly making a distinction) is behind the efforts to employ a Caymanian on every occasion.

    Meaning, I am as pro-Caymanian as they come, however, I also prefer to have the pilot in control of the big, heavy metal bird above my head in the middle of intense police and rescue action as experienced and relaxed as possible. In my humble and unprofessional opinion, the Caymanian in question cannot be at such a level due to age and relative flying hours.

    – Who

    • Anonymous says:

      What is so hard about having a Caymanian act as co-pilot and gaining the hours and experience, Cayman Airways style?

      • Anonymous says:

        Because, as been said countless times, there is NO co-pilot seat, position, controls etc.etc. on this Helicopter. There can be NO co-pilot in this helicopter.

        • Anonymous says:

          EC 135’s have dual controls, although one set can be removed. If they were removed from this helicopter, who did it and why?

          • Anonymous says:

            Left seat, front police tactical flight officer operating camera and technical equipment. No dual controls. Same world over. No one ‘removed’ the controls. Give them a call and go and see for yourself.

      • Anonymous says:

        Once again, there is NO co pilot or first officer position in police helicopters including this one. It is a single pilot helicopter and does not have dual controls fitted. the Police helicopter flies with tactical flight officers (look it up, same world over) who operate the cameras and police role equipment and have tactical control of the aircraft. They do not fly, and therefore only the pilot can get flying hours.

  6. Anonymous says:

    Get past It Cayman . Best man for the job wins. He is well suited for the position. Mr. McLean needs to get over it, drink a coconut, and again…. Get over it. It cannot always be about Caymanians…. Sorry

    • Anonymous says:

      It cannot always be Caymanians for the job, but when shit hits the fan, see who takes off running. The storm is always ragging against the locals. No wonder we have so many gangsters infiltrating or shores.

    • Anonymous says:

      By your analogy, almost no Caymanian would ever have a job. No person would claim that a Caymanian is the best are best in the world for 99% of positions.

  7. Anonymous says:

    Appears that the incoming pilot has gone and earned his wings in the army the hard way and then has considerable police experience. Why should Cayman not have the best of the best doing such an incredibly dangerous and vital job, certainly reassures me. McLeans nephew already has had a large amount of nation building funds invested needs to get himself out there and gain the experience and come back as the best. It is heartening it is not a helicopter for some MLA’s relative to be put in with no experience just because he wanted to do it since he was a boy. The police helicopter probably wasn’t here when he was a small boy.

  8. Diogenes says:

    Helicopter pilot (with combat experience) – not a fighter pilot. Big difference.

  9. Anonymous says:

    A caymanian pilot is flying bigger and better elsewhere and are more appreciated for their talents..fact . We have great people doing great things all over the world..fact

  10. Anonymous says:

    If he really wants the RCIPS position why doesn’t Alden’s nephew simply join the British army, qualify as a military helicopter pilot, put his time in, then come back and apply for the job? Too much like hard work for him?

    Every time I hear about Alden poking his nose into law enforcement I remember just one thing – this is the man who orchestrated the campaign against Derek Haines and got him sacked.

    • Anonymous says:

      To correct your reference, think you mean Arden?

      • Anonymous says:

        Quite right 7:27 – unfortunate typo on my part and my apologies to the Hon Premier for the unintended slur.

    • Anonymous says:

      You are absolutely spot on that it was Mr. Big Mouth Arden McLean who was deeply involved in his contract not being renewed. For what ? Because Mr. Haines handed over his former deputy who was arrested, investigated and convicted for corruption involving the smuggling of Chinese nationals through the Cayman Islands.

      However, others in high positions in the RCIPS were deeply involved, some have since been fired for insubordination, investigated for corruption and now move around the RCIPS with a “black cloud” over their heads. Others, shamefully transferred to other governments departments, where they now gather dust on their foreheads.

      One of these days though, it will be Mr. Big Mouth or one of his relatives or close friends or one of those involved in his contract not being renewed, who will end up needing or seeking Derek Haines donations to fight cancer and heart disease in the Cayman Islands.

      “Spit in the sky and it will fall directly in your eye”

      Oh Yeah………. every time baby, every time !!

      • Anonymous says:

        9:35pm Most times, if we really knew, we would be better informed. Amen.

      • Anonymous says:

        9:35 Harsh reality is the DTF trod on way too many well-connected toes and the fallout from that then went all the way up into the LA. Maybe we should have learnt lessons from that disgraceful episode.

  11. Anonymous says:

    It is time the civil service was bound by the immigration law. If those operating the helicopter were bound by the same rules as the private sector they would have to have in place reasonable programs to ensure that a suitable Caymanian is given the opportunity to gain the knowledge and experience required. If this is not done we will never have a local flying the police helicopter.
    Cayman Airways has managed to train locals to fly modern jets for generation. There is no reason why the police cannot do better.

    • Anonymous says:

      What, you mean the same way the tour helicopter has.

    • Anonymous says:

      Sign the young man up for a tour of duty with the British Army and let him earn his hours then bring him back? It is a shame people aren’t born with experience.. Most of this would also come down to insurance and it has to come out of the government’s coffers (so you’re paying for it) so as with anything else, the more/better experience the pilot has the smaller the premium..

    • Anonymous says:

      Ah, that shining example, Cayman Airways…can you just imagine, an emergency call out and the answer is “just finish ma duty free shopping and soon come”…Cayman Airways, “never knowingly on time”

    • Anonymous says:

      Modern jets…..ROFL. Guess what….Caymanians are not qualified in everything contrary to what they think!

      • Anonymous says:

        We Caymanians should be given the chance at being fighter pilots too. Why should all the furriners get to do low level ordnance drops on the Taliban?

        • Anonymous says:

          Go into Elmlie church and look at the memorial to the Caymanian killed flying over trenches in WW1. Caymanians have been available and willing to fly for the RAF for as long has there has been an RAF.

    • Joseph Stalin says:

      And that’s why I don’t fly CAL

      • Allar says:

        Let me tell you one thing idiot, when you screw with Cal you are on the fighting side of me. CAL is one of the leaders in safety in the airline business. I bet you Mr. Bigmouth won’t talk about the other airline that cam in to cayman a couple weeks ago with loads of injured passengers because of turbulence. So leave CAL from your negative talks

        • Anonymous says:

          Stinky smelly aircraft that shame this island. I flew to Tampa last week and I was disgusted at the aircraft I flew on and staff acted like I had sh*t in their handbags!!!!

    • Anonymous says:

      I think I would prefer an ex RAF pilot to fly the helicopter….who wouldn’t?

    • Anonymous says:

      Which rules are you referring to?

      The Civil Service is 74% Caymanian. The private sector is about 30%

      I like the Civil Service rules better.

      • Anonymous says:

        Mr Manderson will not tell you that the 74% includes all the Jamaican and West Indians given status, many from 2003 grants, again displacing local Caymanians and even any British applicants.

        Our civil service is not subject to Immigration Laws because the CIG is the official employer of Jamaican nationals from head of departments to those hired by private companies (some owned by sell-out Caymanian civil servants?) to provide food for canteen, cleaning and security services.

        Arden and company will only fight against an applicant who is British and if their family and friends and are employed or promoted; this helicopter example is similar to his position of legal practitioner’s bill, he expects to hold status holders hostage if they’re white but so scared to attack the legal department/DPP & AG/judicial admin who will put one token Caymanin in a position but the entire public legal system is ran by Jamaicans and growing number of Trinidadians/Guyanese but a Caymanian can’t get opportunities in their own government but he wants to blame private sector for not hiring Caymanians as ‘partners’. Sadly it is politicians like Arden who is feeding the division and working on behalf of his family and Jamaicans and thsse expats are working with the same firms and other expats to disenfranchise Caymanians who are not xenophobic, are fair & honest but not connected to get the assistance necessary.

        Get over yourself Arden and fight for all not only against British workers, they are the least of our worries.

        • disgusted says:

          Ive noticed a lot of comments directed at Arden. I suspect they are coming from the PPM Propaganda machine who are paid to sit and post politically motivated comments on the “Blogs” (I hate the misuse of that word – its not a Blog) all day.

          I wonder if those same posters realise that they are trying to tear down a man who for all intents and purposes is one of the few who will risk his political career standing up for Caymanians?

          Ask yourself how many times you have heard Alden even comment on the plight of his people that past 3.5 years?

          Give me Arden any day over Alden. The two cannot even be compared.

          Its like comparing Turtle Meat to Iguana for us…Alden being the Iguana…

          some of the Spanish readers will get that, if you don’t, go down to Country n Western Friday night and he will “explique” it for you

          Sad Sad Sad…

    • Diogenes says:

      You mean, other than the fact that its a single pilot helicopter so its impossible to use it for training or gain co pilot experience? Of course, the lad could go overseas and gain the requisite experience on both multi engine helicopters and operating at night at low level etc, ideally by working for a larger law enforcement agency with such helicopters, but he has to be prepared to do that. From previous coverage on this issue on CNS I recall that opportunities to go overseas and gain experience were offered but declined on the basis he did not want to work overseas. Cayman Airways flies 2 seat aircraft that allow co pilots to develop the requisite experience under the command of a qualified pilot – the police don’t have that luxury.

      • Anonymous says:

        4:20 pm Ask the question? Why was the second seat removed from the helicopter? We are not daft, naive, stupid, fool-fool or ignorant. Solve the equation.

        • Anonymous says:

          Your implied suggestion is just ridiculous, you think that just in case a Caymanian wanted to be a helicopter pilot, when ordering the helicopter someone said, better take the seat out…..for a conspiracy theory that is just laughable.

        • Anonymous says:

          All UK and most American police helicopters do not have dual controls fitted as course, as the front left seat is occupied by the Police Tactical Flight Officer, who is actually the person in control of the helicopter operations, operates the specialist equipment, and does not fly it. No ‘seat’ has been removed.

        • Anonymous says:

          Well yes you are if that is what you genuinely believe!

    • Anonymous says:

      Another slap in the face of young Caymanians, willing, able, educated and ready for just that opportunity. I encourage all our young educated young people to ban together and make the difference in these Cayman Islands. The government and the private sector are working in tandem to sideline them. We are not going to be the Indians in the US or the aborigines in Australia.

    • Anonymous says:

      Typical short sighted partisan comment. We need a second, EXPERIENCED pilot , NOW. If a Caymanian wants to become a helicopter pilot, go overseas, qualify and put in the hours gaining the right sort of experience. If they have the necessary abilities, they can fast-track their career, more easily than they could in Cayman.

      • Anonymous says:

        A Caymanian trained as a helicopter pilot, doesn’t have the hours, but is willing to do the hours, if government was willing to assist. If we are not going to train our people to take up this position or other positions, then where are they going to fit in to the puzzle? We will forever be recruiting friends and family from overseas to fill the jobs that our very own should occupy. Which country looks after others before taking care of their own?
        The young man was promised help to gain the hours needed, but his hopes were dashed, because that help never came through. How many more of our people are going to be left out to sun, while friends and cronies fill these positions?
        Just in case that you refer to me as a friend, family, or civil servant, I am a retired civil servant, who experienced it, been there, saw it happen to too many of my people. Injustice for us, and justice for them.

    • Anonymous says:

      12:35 pm They are too busy looking out for their own.

  12. Anonymous says:

    I can only assume the reference to “failure of Gov’t to give Caymanians a chance in the Civil Service” refers to the rampant nepotism whereby priority is given by civil servants to recruiting members of their own family, rather than allowing Gov’t to independently run the selection process.

  13. Anonymous says:

    Bet he’s disappointed that our chopper doesn’t even have spud cannons mounted.

  14. Anonymous says:

    That;s great news, now we can shoot down those Zika mozzies.

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