RAAF Air Commander Australia Air Vice-Marshal Mel Hupfeld has visited HMAS Albatross, gaining an overview of the navy’s Fleet Air Arm and rotary wing aircraft operations.
While visiting 816 and 723 Squadrons, he also took a flight in a Squirrel helicopter, got some time on the Seahawk flight simulator and watched an anti-submarine warfare demonstration.
It was all part of a busy itinerary put together by Fleet Air Arm boss Commodore Vince Di Pietro.
While at the base, Air Vice-Marshal Hupfeld also spoke with maintainers and pilots, taking a keen interest in their training and work.
Lieutenant Cliff Gaudie, of 723 Squadron, was the pilot for Air Vice-Marshal Hupfeld’s local flight, demonstrating the exercises flown by all junior pilots when learning on the Squirrel.
“He was an enthusiastic passenger,” Lieutenant Gaudie said. “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-Marshal Hupfeld on his tour of 816 Squadron, said the Seahawk simulator flight provided a good appreciation of the challenges involved in the tactical environment.
“After flying the Seahawk to the back of a moving ship in the simulator, Air Vice-Marshal Hupfeld said flying a Hornet Jet was much easier,” Commander Pavillard said.
He also visited RAAF personnel at 453 Squadron, which is based in the Albatross Aircraft Control Tower.