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RNZAF Iroquois To Tackle Mountains

1 August, 2008

RNZAF Iroquois To Tackle Mountains

Click for big version
A RNZAF Iroquois undertaking mountain flying
as part of Exercise Blackbird. Image courtesy of Pacific Wings magazine


The skies around Marlborough, Molesworth, St Arnaud and Dip Flat will soon be humming with the sound of Royal New Zealand Air Force Iroquois helicopters taking part in Exercise Blackbird.

The mountain flying exercise from 4 -15 August will involve five Iroquois and nearly 140 personnel, over two rotations, based at Dip Flat.

The helicopters and crews will conduct daily flights to test their skills in a low-visibility, high-altitude mountain environment, with night flying being undertaken 5, 13 and 14 August.

Detachment Commander Squadron Leader Nigel Cooper said the exercise ensured pilots and crew maintained the skills needed for search and rescue operations that often occurred in mountainous terrain, and for the uncertain conditions that could be faced when on deployment overseas.

"You need an increased awareness when you are mountain flying. The way the wind moves over the ridges and down in the gullies and valleys means it can change unexpectedly and can be a bit of a challenge. It is quite different to flying over an open field or the ocean."

The uneven terrain and snow makes landing more difficult with false horizons and whiteout, he said.


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