RNZAF trains for flight in mountainous regions
The Royal New Zealand Air Force’s (RNZAF’s) No. 3 Squadron is currently undergoing its annual mountain flying and level readiness training.
The ten day training programme, called Exercise Blackbird, runs from 12-19 June out of the Dip Flat Defence Area in the Marlborough region.
A109 light utility helicopters are used for the training, with pilots and crew, including loadmasters, working through exercises to practise safe flying in mountainous terrain. Crew will also learn theory in meteorological considerations and alpine survival.
The A109 helicopter is used to train the RNZAF helicopter crew who will move onto working on the NH90 or Seasprite helicopters. The helicopter’s twin engines, retractable landing gear, 4-axis auto pilot and modern glass cockpit all make for a smooth transition to the NH90 or Seasprite.
Detachment Commander for Exercise Blackbird Squadron Leader, Greg Jane, said: ‘At home or abroad mountainous terrain requires specific skill and considerations. It is critical that RNZAF helicopter crews are qualified and experienced in high altitude mountain flying.
‘The training that is provided on A109 is a critical step in the professional development of the air crew.’
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