A group of Royal Australian Navy aviation support trainees recently became the first all-female team to secure an aircraft on the deck of a Royal Australian Navy ship.
The team was part of a group of 14 trainees and their instructors from HMAS Albatross who joined landing helicopter dock HMAS Adelaide off the east coast of Australia for a week of aviation support training with an embarked MRH-90 aircraft from 808 Squadron, dubbed ‘Poseidon 29’.
The training also marked the first time aviation support training has been conducted at sea.
Following a day of flight deck safety briefs, the trainees spent time becoming familiar with lashings and how to secure an aircraft to the deck upon landing.
Much of the week was spent successfully carrying out day and night launches and recoveries of Poseidon 29, conducting vertical replenishment of stores and transferring personnel by winch.
The trainees were also able to observe first-hand night time flying operations by two Black Hawk helicopters from Army’s 6th Aviation Regiment.
Commander Air HMAS Adelaide, Commander Stuart Baily said the trainees benefitted from training in an active environment at sea.
“This was a fantastic opportunity for all the trainees to experience life at sea on a busy platform like HMAS Adelaide,” he said.
“Despite some initial apprehension about working beneath a ‘turning and burning’ aircraft and being at sea for the first time, they adapted well and worked as a team.”
“They completed all required competencies and transitioned from nervous students ‘under the disc’, to very confident Aviation Support sailors, operating day and night in a multi-spot operational environment.”
Aviation support sailors secure and oversee all aircraft ground handling on flight lines ashore and at sea on the flight deck of Navy’s two biggest ships, Adelaide and Canberra.