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Airborne Again After 25 Years

30 October 2008

Airborne Again After 25 Years

Robin Klitscher (foreground) and Squadron Leader Ben Pryor get ready for a flight in a RNZAF Iroquois helicopter in Timor Leste.


It was a trip down memory lane for former Royal New Zealand Air Force pilot Robin Klitscher as he took to the skies in an RNZAF Iroquois helicopter during a recent visit to Timor Leste.

The 72-year-old retired Air Vice-Marshal, who is National President of both the RNZAF Association and the Royal New Zealand Returned and Services’ Association, joined the RNZAF as a pilot in 1958 and flew Iroquois for the Royal Australian Air Force in Vietnam from 1970-1971.

After his flight Mr Klitscher said it was a great experience and exciting to get a chance behind the controls.

“The flight was terrific. I haven’t flown in 25 years so it really was magic.”

Mr Klitscher’s visit comes as the final detachment of RNZAF Number 3 Squadron personnel and two Iroquois helicopters prepare to withdraw from Timor Leste and return to New Zealand.

“Traveling to Timor Leste to fly these final missions was important for two main reasons,” he said.
“The most obvious was to mark the close of yet another successful deployment by a unit of the New Zealand Defence Force. We greatly admire the achievements there and elsewhere of all NZDF attachments – Army, Navy and Air Force – but in this case especially of Number 3 Squadron.

“It is important also to see the flights in the context of recent undertakings by the NZDF and the RNZRSA to re-build connections. The veterans’ organisations have an obligation to be up-to-date with the current operational environment so that we can properly advocate for the well-being of serving personnel; and the NZDF has an obligation to ensure that veterans are properly looked after following their service,” Mr Klitscher said.


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