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Senior Electrical Lecturer, Stuart Gilby, jets off to the South Atlantic

Senior Electrical Lecturer, Stuart Gilby, jets off to the South Atlantic

18 June 2019

Stuart Gilby, a Senior Electrical Lecturer from Develop Training Limited (DTL) is currently spending three weeks among the Green Turtles and Yellow Fin Tuna of Ascension Island to deliver one of the company's most unusual assignments.

DTL has won a contract from Babcock Communications Limited to provide High Voltage (HV) training for operatives maintaining the HV network on the isolated volcanic island in the South Atlantic.

No commercial flights run to and from the island

Commercial flights to the island are in short supply since the Airbridge was cancelled in April 2017 due to runway issues; this means that HV Lecturer, Stuart Gilby, will be travelling to and from the island with the RAF directly from their Brize Norton base in the UK.

Stuart will be delivering training on site for two weeks, but the trip has been extended to three weeks to accomodate the RAF flights. During his time off Stuart has already arranged to go tuna fishing with a island resident - a real once in a lifetime experience!

HV training for operatives maintaining the High Voltage network

Five wind turbines on Ascension Island help to sustainably power BBC World Service shortwave transmissions to Africa. The 53-metre-tall wind turbines were made by Enercon in Germany, who chartered a ship to deliver them, and can collectively deliver up to 1650kW on a windy day. Power from the wind farm goes directly into the island’s electricity grid, which uses between 1000kW and 3000kW depending on the time of day and the BBC transmitting schedule.

DTL will be catching up with Stuart once he returns to UK soil in a few weeks time, so keep your eyes peeled for further news about his exciting adventure, and maybe a few photos too!


  • Ascension Island is an isolated volcanic island, 7°56' south of the Equator in the South Atlantic Ocean. It is about 1,600 kilometres (1,000 mi) from the coast of Africa and 2,250 kilometres (1,400 mi) from the coast of Brazil. In the February 2016 census, 806 people were recorded as living on the island.
  • The island is named after the day of its recorded discovery, Ascension Day. It was an important safe haven and coaling station to mariners and for commercial airliners during the days of international air travel by flying boats. During World War 2 it was an important naval and air station, especially providing antisubmarine warfare bases in the Battle of the Atlantic.
  • The island is also the location of RAF Ascension Island, which is a Royal Air Force station, a European Space Agency rocket tracking station, an Anglo-American signals intelligence facility and the BBC World Service Atlantic Relay Station.
  • The largest native land animal is the land crab Johngarthia lagostoma (formerly Gecarcinus lagostoma). Offshore, there is a variety of open-ocean fish including sharks, wahoo, tuna, bonito, barracude, marlin, blackfish and sailfish. The protected green turtle is perhaps the most notable of the endemic fauna, coming ashore to lay their eggs on the beaches from November to May.
  • In January 2016 the UK Government announced that an area around Ascension Island was to become a huge marine reserve, to protect its varied and unique ecosystem. It includes some of the largest marlin in the world, large populations of green turtle, and the island's own species of frigate bird.

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