The German Navy corvette FGS Erfurt rendezvoused with the Spanish Navy helicopter Toro 07 in The Gulf of Aden to conduct a rather uncommon exercise.
The helicopter is regularly embarked on the Spanish frigate ESPS Victoria which is also deployed to the EU NAVFOR Operation Atalanta at the Horn of Africa.
The exercise, carried out in the Gulf of Aden, is officially named FLYEX (Flying Exercise). The pilots and the crews honed their skills through several take-offs and landings on the frigate’s helicopter landing pad.
Present at the Erfurt’s deck were the commander, officer of the navigational watch and the ship’s bridge team. The commander authorizes the helicopter to commence the take off/landing procedure as he is responsible for the safety of ship and crew.
The officer of the watch is responsible for the navigational safety. He orders the ship to take up “flying course and speed” – a speed optimal for a helicopter to land and take off. This represents a challenge for the helmsman.
Helmsman of the FGS Erfurt during the FLYEX was First Mate Christian B., who said: “I have to keep the course as precise as possible. At the moment of the take off or landing the pilots has to rely on our ability to keep the course as steady as possible.”
After an overall six landings and take offs and a hover flight over the ship’s flight deck, the flight operation ended as a success.