A COMMERCIAL pilot from Bournemouth has been deployed to Afghanistan as a reservist in the Army Air Corps.

Air Trooper Leo Domeisen, 27, has been serving as a reservist in the British Army since 2011.

He has recently been serving in Afghanistan as part of the Helicopter Handling Team from 9 Regiment Army Air Corps (AAC) in Helmand province.

He is soon due to return home to Bournemouth the end of a six-month operational tour.

As part of 665 Sqn AAC, which is usually based in Middle Wallop, Hampshire, the Helicopter Handling Team’s are usually made up of three soldiers and are in most forward locations across Afghanistan.

Leo was based in Main Operating Base (MOB) Price for the majority of his time in Afghanistan attached to 3rd Battalion, Mercian Regiment.

He was responsible for the maintenance of the Helicopter Landing Site, and the preparation and ‘hooking up’ of underslung loads, vital for the re-supply of equipment around southern Afghanistan.

Leo grew up in Celle, Germany, as both his parents were serving in the military, before boarding at Milton Abbey school in Dorset aged 13-18.

After he left school he spent four years as a ski instructor in Quebec, Canada, before settling down in Dorset with his brother and completing his commercial pilot licence. During his time in Afghanistan Leo dealt with hundreds of helicopter landings and hooking up of underslung loads.

He also had the rare opportunity to help replace the damaged rotor blades on a civilian helicopter.

He was also a key member of a make shift choir over the Christmas period keeping the troops entertained.

Speaking about his tour Leo said: “I had a fantastic time out there.

“To be honest it has gone above and beyond my expectations. I love being in the reserves. I think it’s great.

“Mainly because it gives me a break from work, a change of pace and it gives me the opportunity to test myself in challenging circumstances.”

Leo returns to Bournemouth soon, where he will have a well earned holiday.