Visits to 816 and 723 Squadrons, a flight in a Squirrel helicopter, simulator experience in flying a Seahawk and an anti-submarine warfare demonstration were all part of the busy itinerary that Commander Fleet Air Arm, Commodore Vince Di Pietro, recently put together for Air Vice Marshal Mel Hupfeld.
Commodore Di Pietro invited the RAAF Air Commander Australia to visit HMAS Albatross for an overview of the capabilities of Navy’s Fleet Air Arm and rotary wing aircraft operations.
While he was on the Navy base, Air Vice Marshall Hupfeld also took full advantage of the opportunity to engage with Royal Australian Navy maintainers and pilots wherever he went, taking a keen interest in their training and work.
Lieutenant Cliff Gaudie of 723 Squadron was the pilot for Air Vice Marshall Hupfeld’s flight and took him on a local area sortie, demonstrating the profiles flown by all junior pilots when learning on the Squirrel.
Lieutenant Gaudie said Air Vice Marshall Hupfeld was a very enthusiastic passenger.
“He loved it! He had flown the UH-1H (Huey) many years ago, so a lot of his questions stemmed from the difference between the Huey and the Squirrel.”
“I was also able to give him significant hovering and normal flying profiles and show him some of the handling characteristics, more specifically the engine-off landing profiles as well as some emergency handling sequences.”
Commander Marc Pavillard, who escorted Air Vice Marshall Hupfeld on his tour of 816 Squadron, said the Seahawk simulator flight gave the senior Air Force officer a very good appreciation of the challenges involved in the embarked tactical environment.
“After flying the Seahawk to the back of a moving ship in the Simulator, Air Vice Marshall Hupfeld said that flying a Hornet Jet was much easier,” Commander Pavillard said.
Day 2 of Air Vice Marshall Hupfeld’s visit provided him with the opportunity to visit RAAF personnel at 453 Squadron, which is based in the Albatross Aircraft Control Tower. Commanding Officer of Albatross, Captain Simon Bateman said this presented a valuable opportunity.
“From my perspective, I think it is always good for a senior Air Force officer to visit the Navy’s only operational airfield. Not only does it allow them to view and participate in naval aviation, but they also get the chance to speak to the Air Force members on the base, specifically the RAAF Air Traffic Controllers.”
Squadron Leader Michael Evans agreed, describing Air Vice Marshall Hupfeld’s visit as “a rare privilege.”
Press Release, May 30, 2014