Technical training takes a bow

Published on LEUT Daniel Vale (author)

Location(s): HMAS Albatross

Topic(s): Training, MH-60R Seahawk, S-70B-2 Seahawk, 816 Squadron

The last of the S-70B- 2 Aviation Technicians graduating at HMAS Albatross for the hangar maintenance team course. (photo: Unknown)
The last of the S-70B- 2 Aviation Technicians graduating at HMAS Albatross for the hangar maintenance team course.

A pioneering training program is drawing to a close with the last class of Australian Navy-trained Seahawk Bravo aviation technicians graduating. 

With the introduction of the Seahawk Romeo helicopter, maintenance personnel will cease to be trained on the S-70B-2, or Bravo.

More than 150 technicians have graduated the eight-month program since late 2012, removing, installing, and testing complex aircraft components.

The Seahawk Bravo Maintenance Team, is led by Chief Petty Officer Aviation Technician Aircraft Christopher Pickering, who said opportunity train on an in-service aircraft was invaluable.

“This training concept was both ground-breaking and highly effective,” Chief Petty Officer Pickering said.

“Trainees have been able to progress competencies in record time which has increased the number of qualified aviation technicians available to the Fleet Air Arm.

"Furthermore, they gained experience that was not possible in previous incarnations of S-70B-2 training,” he said.

“Since its commencement, we have been able to take the training burden away from 816 Squadron and implement a program which has seen vast

improvements in student’s knowledge and ability, all before they even hit the squadron floor.”

Graduate Seaman Aviation Technician Aircraft Thomas Jacobson said this was a valuable component of his training.

“It was great to get hands on experience on a real Seahawk. It meant I learnt a lot in a short time.”

Over the last 4 years, 41 students have also graduated from S-70B-2 bridging courses and 37 on technical familiarisation courses managed by the Hangar Maintenance Team. At its peak, the team had 26 staff delivering nine courses concurrently.

Due to the draw down of the S-70B-2, there is no longer a need for their technicians, however, the training provided by the team has not been in vain.

The commonality between S-70B-2 and the new MH-60R helicopter means only a short bridging course is needed before these graduates are posted to flights, delivering organic rotary wing aviation to the Fleet.

Training Authority - Aviation is located at HMAS Albatross and seeks to provide learning environments that use innovation to train people to be skilled, competent and professional in the delivery of war fighting effects. 

The graduates were Seamen Aviation Technicians Aircraft James Allen, Anthony Bonnici, Thomas Jacobson, Morgan-Hoban McCarthy, Julijan Pavin, Todd Snider, Adam Tolmie and Able Seamen Aviation Technicians Aircraft Leigh Buchanan and Jake McLennan.