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Image: Flying at First Light

New Zealand Defence Force Te Ope Kaatua O Aotearoa
Media Release 17 February 2005

Flying at First Light

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Photo Caption: AK 05-0061-08 Ground crew prepare an RAF Nimrod for an early morning flight out of Whenuapai. The Maritime Patrol Aircraft is making a rare visit to New Zealand as part of Exercise Fincastle

A rare visit from a Royal Air Force (RAF) Nimrod - the British Maritime Patrol Aircraft is in New Zealand to take part in the world's longest running submarine hunting competition.

Hosted by the New Zealand Air Force at Whenuapai, the Fincastle competition sees the Nimrod crew pit their skills against crews from New Zealand and Australia.

The keenly contested competition involves participants' ability to detect, classify, track and engage a submarine by day or night.

In addition, the exercise involves a forum for the development of procedures and tactics, and wider maritime surveillance and patrol training

This morning the Nimrod and P3 Orion's from New Zealand and Australia completed familiarisation flights off the east coast of the North Island, in the lead up to competition flights.

A maintenance competition will also be run, with each nation judged on their flight line operations and engineering skills.


Media are welcome to visit RNZAF Base Whenuapai and talk to crews as part of Exercise Fincastle.

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