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Airtrainers Arrive at Matamata

16 July 2004

Airtrainers Arrive at Matamata

From the 3 - 12 August 2004 the airfield at Matamata will become a tent city as 100 personnel from RNZAF Base Ohakea deploy for Exercise WISEOWL 83. Exercise Wiseowl is a bi-annual Pilot Training Squadron (PTS) deployment, primarily designed to test military student pilots in operating their aircraft from a deployed camp. Navigation sorties in the local area mean the Air trainers may be seen within 200 kilometres of Matamata.

Operating away from their home base at Ohakea the student pilots taste what it's like to work from 'field' conditions for the first time. Seven Air trainer aircraft will be deployed to Matamata from RNZAF Base Ohakea for the six wings course pilots and their instructors from PTS. In addition two Kingair aircraft and a communications unit will also deploy to take advantage of the training opportunity.

Accommodation will be in tents that will be erected on the airfield, including some very large models up to 120 feet long. The camp will be self-sufficient; to support the exercise there will be a field kitchen for catering, medical facility, administration unit, operations unit, communications centre, logistics unit providing camp supplies and spares as well as a maintenance centre for the aircraft.

The deployment and redeployment of the aircraft, supplies, camp pack-up equipment and personnel is a logistics exercise in itself. An advance party will drive to Matamata airfield on 2 August to begin establishing the camp, with the remaining equipment and personnel following on 3 August.

Apart from its operational tasking, Exercise WISEOWL 83 is a chance for schools, organisations, and the general public to visit the camp to meet Air Force personnel and find out more about the Air Force.

The camp will be open to the public on Saturday 7 August 2004 between 1:00 and 4:00 pm. At the Open Day there will be a static displays as well as a short aerial display of some of the RNZAF's aircraft.


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