For most, milestones are easy to recognise: a birthday here, an anniversary there, but aircrew mark their growing experience by meticulously logging hours flown, with appropriate accolades from friends and colleagues as the total number soars.
It’s a little different for helicopters, but one of the first in 725 Squadron’s inventory recently established its own, personal yardstick.
Seahawk 902 started working for the Fleet Air Arm in Jacksonville, USA; a vehicle for the first hesitant steps towards a much larger capability.
Completing over 300 training hours, it flew the gamut of events required to help pilots, Aviation Warfare Officers and Sensor Operators begin to realise that goal.
Arriving in Australia on 14 October 2014, 902 stood vigil on the flight line as 725 Squadron was commissioned, a veteran with an impressive total of hours already under the belt.
Since then it has flown again and again. From standard circuit operations and navigation exercises to tactical sorties against surface and sub-surface threats, 902 has seen it all.
On 22 May, while flying through the early hours of a Monday evening, 902 completed 1000 hours airborne. Fittingly, the event was a syllabus flight designed to introduce a student to the intricacies of night vision devices, and typical of training undertaken at the Squadron.
In addition to facilitating wider Squadron activities, that total has directly contributed to maintaining a healthy throughput of junior aircrew, adding to the trained Romeo force, and ensuring a continued future capability for the Navy and its interests.
For now, 902 will continue to fly in support of 725 Squadron aircrew training; the first Romeo to pass an historic milestone, but certainly not the last.