Shelley, centre in black and white stripes, first went on board a P-8 Poseidon at an air force reunion in the UK. Photo, Ministry of Defence. From one extreme to the other – yoga teacher Shelley Charlton is hoping to become a weapons operator on a P-8 Poseidon.
The day’s work is about to change drastically for Shelley Charlton, as she hopes to trade the peace and tranquility of yoga teaching for weapons operations in the latest British military aircraft.
It is a return to her roots. Originally from England, Shelley went into the Royal Air Force in 1993 and had an action packed career that included crewing Nimrods.
She moved to New Zealand in 2006 and had a stint in the NZ Air Force on a P-3 Orion before she left the military in 2010, suffering from depression.
Since then she has been travelling, acting and directing local theatre productions, and teaching yoga – she is well known for instigating free yoga classes on local beaches.
The 48-year-old says it has come as a surprise to be enticed back into the military by the possibility of a position on a brand new aircraft – the Boeing P-8 Poseidon, which the Royal Air force has recently acquired.
The P-8 conducts anti-submarine warfare, international surveillance and long-range search and rescue.
It was love at first sight, when Shelley first climbed into a Poseidon during an air force reunion earlier this year.
She is applying for a position as a weapons systems operator, providing onboard radar and electronic support, and is confident that they’ll take her on.
“The age limit is 50 to fly, provided you are fit and well, and the Royal Air Force is accepting crew from all over the Commonwealth,” she says.
All being well, she plans to return to the UK in May and have six months of training in the US before shifting to a base in Scotland.
Shelley’s popular free Yoga on the Beach sessions start on Monday, December 3 on Big Manly Beach. They will be held every Monday, Wednesday and Friday at 7.30am.
Over the summer, she is looking for a suitable teacher to continue offering the free beach yoga.