Heavy Lifters Hone In On Helicopter Dock
(Source: Royal Australian Navy; issued May 28, 2016)
Amphibious ship, HMAS Canberra has conducted deck and handling trials with two Chinook helicopters alongside in Sydney recently.

The aircraft, from the 5th Aviation Regiment, based in Townsville will go on to conduct first of class flight trials with Canberra's sister ship, HMAS Adelaide.

Canberra's Aviation Operations Officer, Major Paul Lewis, said the two aircraft were on ship for approximately a week.

"The trial was conducted by the Royal Australian Navy's Aircraft Maintenance and Flight Trials Unit," Major Lewis said.

"Before the aircraft can operate on the ship we first need to put them on the flight deck and move them around in various configurations to ensure the aircraft will fit safely and that the deck markings and procedures are correct before we begin flying the aircraft."

The data collected from the initial trial will assist with trials in Adelaide later this year.

Medium Lift Helicopter Cell Commander, Major Trevor Campbell, from Army’s Aviation Test and Evaluation Section has been seconded to Navy’s trials unit for the duration. He said the trial had been a success so far.

"The CH-47F has been in service in the Australian Army for just over a year and only recently achieved Initial Operating Capability and the F model will shortly be ready to take over from the CH-47D," Major Campbell said.

"As part of the deck trial we simulated landing in rough weather where the aircraft may land off from its designated landing spot.

"This is to make sure the rotor blades stay clear of any structures on the ship."

Major Campbell said that useful data gathered and great working relationships were formed.

"We collected a lot of raw data about what the aircraft was doing but from the personnel side we had a lot of integration and interface between the Army personnel from 5th Aviation Regiment and the ship's company of Canberra," he said.

"This helps to make sure all those key people like Aircraft Life-Support Fitters and Forward Army Refuelling personnel know how they can integrate with the ship and fit in with the work flow."

Canberra will sail shortly to take part in Exercise RIM OF THE PACIFIC in Hawaii, which will be the ship's first international exercise.


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