Fleet Air Arm Family Day

Published on Ms Dallas McMaugh (author), ABIS Bonny Gassner (photographer)

Leading Seaman Aviation Technician - Avionics Jordan Berkhout of 808 Squadron and his fifteen-month-old daughter Aria enjoy the combined Families Day held at HMAS Albatross and the Fleet Air Arm Museum. (photo: ABIS Bonny Gassner)
Leading Seaman Aviation Technician - Avionics Jordan Berkhout of 808 Squadron and his fifteen-month-old daughter Aria enjoy the combined Families Day held at HMAS Albatross and the Fleet Air Arm Museum.

On 26 September, 723 Squadron along with 816 Squadron, 808 Squadron and the Aircraft Maintenance and Flight Trials Unit hosted a combined Families Day, held at HMAS Albatross and at the Fleet Air Arm Museum.

723 Squadron kicked off the Families Day with a AS350BA Squirrel helicopter formation flypast, followed by a fast-roping display by the Australian Clearance Dive Team One from a MRH90. The remainder of the day involved displays from the Red Beret Parachute Team, the SERCO Fire Fighting Team and much hands-on interaction with the various helicopters on display.

Fleet Air Arm squadrons routinely provide opportunities for members to showcase naval aviation to their loved ones while acknowledging them for their invaluable support throughout the year.

Coordinator Lieutenant Natalie Davies said that the work involved was overshadowed by the excitement of showing loved ones their work in the Navy.

“The logistics involved in planning, setting up and running the event were huge, but luckily we had a great team who were keen to give their families a glimpse of their working lives, and to demonstrate our appreciation of all they do for us," Lieutenant Davies said. 

“There was an impressive amount of behind-the-scenes maintenance to ensure all the aircraft could participate, lots of sailors helped out to escort our guests through the static aircraft displays, and we also have to thank the aircrew who took our family members for flights around Nowra.

“We couldn’t have asked for a better day, the weather turned out to be perfect, we had a wide range of fun family activities, the flying displays were incredible, there were so many smiles on so many faces and the feedback received from the families who attended was all overwhelmingly positive," she said.

Commander Adrian Capner, Commanding Officer of 808 Squadron said the day was an important one with many highlights.

“It would be impossible for us to support the people of Australia without the support of our families, so the opportunity to thank them means a lot to all squadron members.

“For us it’s also an opportunity to show our children just what mum and dad do every day and to make them feel a little bit special, because not every kid at school gets to go for a ride in a helicopter.

“It was great for families to see the myriad of aircraft we have in the Fleet Air Arm and we were able to demonstrate the versatility of all the platforms, from the Squirrel pairs formation display to fast roping from a MRH-90," Commander Capner said.

There was even the startings of a new family on the day, with the engagement of Leading Seaman Adam Bunn to his girlfriend Jai while they were airborne in an MRH-90.

More imagery of the day is available at: http://images.navy.gov.au/S20142920.