A Royal Navy Jet Pilot from East Devon has been promoted and takes up new appointment in the Middle East.

Commander Tim Flatman, who grew up in Seaton and attended Colyton Grammar School, has been promoted after leading the Fleet Air Arm’s 736 Naval Air Squadron at Royal Naval Air Station Culdrose in Cornwall.

Tim became the Commanding Officer of 736 NAS in 2013, and during his tenure transferred the squadron from an almost civilian structured outfit, to become a fully manned Royal Naval Unit.
736 NAS Fly the Hawk T1 jet, which is responsible for providing realistic targets and fast attack profiles to Naval Ships operating in conjunction with Flag Officer Sea Training (FOST).

Commander Flatman joined the Royal Navy in 1997, after leaving school and working at the Anchor Inn in Beer.  After his initial officer training at Dartmouth, he started flying training and was selected for Fixed-Wing, which he completed in 2002. He flew the Sea Harrier FA2 with both 800 and 801 NAS embarking in HMSs Ark Royal and Invincible. Crossing over to the Harrier GR7 in 2004 he went onto an embarkation with HMS Illustrious and completed two frontline Operational tours of Afghanistan on OP HERRICK, conducting Close Air Support in support of coalition troops. He has served on 3(F) Sqn RAF, 800 NAS and the Naval Strike Wing with the Harrier GR7.

Leaving the Harrier in 2007, Tim moved on to RAF Valley in Wales with 19(F) Sqn as Tactics and Weapons instructor on the Hawk T1, and teaching students in their final phase of flying training before being streamed to front-line types. He returned to the Harrier Force at RAF Cottesmore in Lincolnshire and completed several staff jobs in 2009, before Advanced Command Course in 2012. He returned to flying duties with the Royal Naval Hawk detachment at Yeovilton before moving to Cornwall and becoming Commanding Officer of 736 NAS in June 2013.

“I’m very honoured to be promoted to Commander and take up a new appointment overseas,” said Tim. “I’ve been incredibly lucky and had an exciting career so far in the Royal Navy, and especially having worked with some fantastic people. I’m looking forward to the next few years as the RN gets its new aircraft (the F35 Joint Strike Fighter), and the Queen Elizabeth class carriers.”