A CHANCE visit to a Test Valley military museum has seen one former RAF technician signing up to adopt one of its aircraft, after recognising it as one he’d worked on during his service.

Darren Smith, who runs a company called Esperianza Learning, immediately recognised the aircraft during a chance visit and decided to become a corporate partner of the Army Flying Museum and adopt its Islander.

Darren said: “My dad came down with his partner and we brought them here and I was like ‘Wow’ when I saw it.

“Seeing it brought back so many memories, I then spent ages telling the people with me all about my experiences in the plane.

“It came as a complete surprise to see it, as I didn’t realise it was here at the Museum.”

Darren joined the RAF in 1988 and, during his career, spent three years working on deployment with five Islanders, which included the one in the Museum collection.

The Islander AL MK.1 was used for observation and reconnaissance, and, amongst other things, aerial photography and surveillance, which was Darren’s primary role in the aircraft.

One of the camera’s used to capture the landscape has become one of the most recent additions to the Museum, the Zeiss RMK TOP 15 Aerial Camera, which was located in the middle of the fuselage and took photographs downwards through the floor of the aircraft.

Darren continued: “They certainly weren’t the most accessible of cameras.”

Darren’s company, who provide training for telecoms, datacoms and cyber security on bespoke projects, has maintained strong ties with the military, and now he intends to retain a strong connection with one of his old aircraft through corporate adoption.

A spokesman for the museum said through corporate adoption, the business will get benefits such as complimentary room hire and free access whilst entertaining clients and exposure of the business from the museum.

For those who would like to connect their company and employees to the museum, contact development@armyflying.com