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No Day Ever The Same For Maritime Squadron

November 16 2007

No Day Ever The Same For Air Force Maritime Squadron

Life as a member of the Royal New Zealand Air Force (RNZAF) Number 5 Squadron can be described as a lot of things, but boring is certainly not one of them.

While on a routine training mission in Auckland this morning the crew of the P-3K Orion received a request from Auckland Air Traffic Control (AATC) to assist an aircraft in distress. A light aircraft had inadvertently become stuck in cloud and was unable to perform an instrument approach to Ardmore Aerodrome due to the lack of suitable equipment on board.

Flight Lieutenant Nick Cooper and the Orion crew were asked to locate an area clear of cloud out in the Hauraki Gulf so that the AATC could direct the distressed aircraft to the P-3K's position. On rendezvous with the P-3K both aircraft descended below the cloud base and the aircraft continued to safely land at the Great Barrier Aerodrome without further incident.

While not the rescue mission that the RNZAF squadron is usually responsible for Flight Lieutenant Cooper said that the pilot was more than grateful for their help all the same.

"He just got caught out in some unexpected bad weather and found himself in a cloud base without the required equipment to safely perform an instrument approach. We had been practicing approaches into Whenuapai and were more than happy to help out" said Flight Lieutenant Cooper.

The RNZAF Maritime Patrol Force consists of six P-3K Orion aircraft and comprises 75 aircrew and 70 support personnel. An aircraft and crew remains on search and rescue standby 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.


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