Old Navy helicopter takes to the air

This article has photo gallery Published on Mr Pup Elliott (author), Mr Rob Crawford (photographer), ABIS Sarah Williams (photographer)

Location(s): Nowra, NSW

Topic(s): HMAS Albatross, International Fleet Review

The N9-3102 Iroquois 894 helicopter is removed from its pole at the entrance to Nowra for refurbishment leading up to the International Fleet Review. (photo: Mr Robert Crawford)
The N9-3102 Iroquois 894 helicopter is removed from its pole at the entrance to Nowra for refurbishment leading up to the International Fleet Review.

A piece of Navy’s Fleet Air Arm history recently took to the skies again over Nowra. Iroquois 894, Serial N9-3102, which marks the gateway to Nowra outside the Shoalhaven Tourist Information Centre was lifted off its mount by volunteers from the Fleet Air Arm Museum in preparation for the upcoming International Fleet Review.

The helicopter was transported to HMAS Albatross where it will be surveyed for damage, corrosion and undergo the replacement of identified parts, before being returned to its place of honour.

The Iroquois has previously been refurbished in 2002 before it was mounted on a higher pole the following year in 2003.

The lift required the services of a locally owned 30-tonne crane from local company Quality Cranes and some good luck with the weather to place it safely on the transport to move it to HMAS Albatross.

Current planning has the helicopter returned to its position in time for the International Fleet Review in October when more that 40 Royal Australian Navy and foreign warships will enter Jervis Bay prior to the conduct of the Review and celebrations in Sydney.

The Iroquois 894 was acquired by the RAN in a purchase of seven UH-1B Iroquois helicopters in 1964. It saw service with 723 Squadron and underwent extensive restoration after it ditched in Jervis Bay, with all crew rescued, on January 25, 1970 after suffering engine trouble. It was withdrawn from service on 31 October 31 1988.

When refurbished and returned to the Tourist Information Centre the Iroquois will form an appropriate entrance to the Shoalhaven region which has a long association with the Royal Australian Navy.

The Fleet Air Arm Association of Australia (NSW Division), are supporting the refurbishment as their contribution to the Navy's International Fleet Review and Fleet Centenary celebrations.

Imagery is available on the Royal Australian Navy Media Library at http://images.navy.gov.au/S20130768.