Lure of the sea

Published on LSIS Helen Frank (author and photographer)

Able Seaman Aviation Support Nicholas Wright on HMAS Canberra's flight deck. (photo: LSIS Helen Frank)
Able Seaman Aviation Support Nicholas Wright on HMAS Canberra's flight deck.

Growing up in Mildura, Able Seaman Nicholas Wright was far from the ocean but his current career choice quickly changed that.

Able Seaman Wright finished his schooling at Coomealla High School and then worked on a local vineyard as a general working hand. After travelling to Bali and America in 2009 his desire to see more of the world was ignited.

“Once I got an idea of how big the world was, I realised I needed to see more,” he said.

“So in 2010 I joined the Navy, not just for the travel but because I also really enjoy being a part of a team.”

Able Seaman Wright began training as a Navy Aviation Technician but when the opportunity arose for him to join the Navy’s newest employment category he jumped at the chance.

He is now a qualified Aviation Support sailor supporting the enhanced aviation capability of Navy’s newest class of ship, the Canberra Class Landing Helicopter Dock.

HMAS Canberra is the first of two ships to be introduced into service for the Royal Australian Navy. The ship has a crew of 400 and is capable of embarking over 1,000 troops and their cargo that can be landed ashore by helicopters or state of the art landing craft.

Able Seaman Wright's job onboard Canberra sees him moving and securing aircraft on the flight deck and in the hangar. His duties also involve the operation of all flight and hangar deck systems including aircraft hydraulic lift systems, mechanical handing equipment and associated safety and securing equipment.

“In the event of an aircraft emergency onboard the ship I can be called upon to fight aircraft fires and rescue aircrew,” Able Seaman Wright said.

“The most challenging aspect of my job is the safety, you have to do your job effectively while making sure that everyone and everything is safe.

“But it is awesome to work with the aircraft and it is a great rush to be so close to them as they land on the deck.”

Canberra was only recently commissioned and Nicholas said this was the highlight of his posting to the ship so far.
“It was amazing to be a part of history with the first commissioning of a ship and also very rewarding,” Able Seaman Wright said.

“We had just spent six weeks training for both duty watch and Standing Sea Fire and Emergency Party so it was great to see the crew’s achievements recognised during the commissioning.

“This is my first sea posting and I’m really happy about being on the newest and most advanced ship the Navy has.

“It’s great to start my career at sea on the best and biggest ship in the fleet.”