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Air Force Helos Buzz The Manawatu Skies

18 December 2008

Air Force Helos Buzz The Manawatu Skies

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It was a spectacular sight over the skies of the Manawatu this afternoon as Number 3 Squadron of the Royal New Zealand Air Force flew all of its Iroquois and Sioux aircraft.

Operations Flight Commander Squadron Leader Nigel 'Coops' Cooper said it was a rare occurrence that not one of the 19 helicopters was in for scheduled maintenance and the sight may not be seen again with the scheduled retirement of both aircraft types in the near future.

"To enable today's event to occur a tremendous amount of hard work was done to ensure all 19 were serviceable. This was helped by the recent return of personnel from Timor Leste backed up by the dedication and professionalism of the men and women of Number 3 Squadron and supporting units."

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The short flight encompassed flights over the towns surrounding the Ohakea Air Force Base where the Squadron is based as a show of thanks to the support received from the local community while also demonstrating the credibility and capability of the Air Force.

Both aircraft have been in service for well over 40 years and with the introduction into service of the NH90 and A109LUH to replace the Iroquois and Sioux respectively, the Squadron's manpower and number of Iroquois flown will be reduced over the next few years as personnel are trained in the maintenance practices and how to fly the new aircraft.


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