Minister for Defence Materiel Jason Clare today visited the Army Aviation Training Centre at Oakey in Queensland and congratulated helicopter flight and ground crews on achieving the highest annual rate of flying for Army Black Hawk helicopters since they entered service in 1988.
In the past twelve months the Australian Army’s Black Hawk helicopters flew over 8,300 hours. They supported operations in East Timor, as well as flying around 475 hours in support of Operation Flood Assist in Queensland over January.
“I’m here to say thank you to the crews who fly these helicopters and the workers who maintain them.”
“The extreme weather here inQueenslandover January showed Mother Nature at her worst and our Defence Force at it’s best,” Mr Clare said.
“Our Black Hawks saved a lot of lives in January and continued to assist as the floodwaters receded.
“The combination of training, equipment and bravery made the difference between life and death.”
The Minister paid special thanks to the workers from Boeing Australia who maintain the Black Hawk helicopters.
“An old pilot told me last year that unless your ground crew can put you on the start line – no pilot is worth two bob,” Mr Clare said.
“For every hour in the sky, there are a lot more hours of repair and maintenance on the ground. Their hard work morning and night kept our Black Hawks in the air.
“Together the ground crew and the air crew are a lifesaving team.”
Media contact: Tim Quadrio – 02 6277 7620