A flying visit back home

Published on SBLT Kat Mulheron (author), LSIS Paul McCallum (photographer)

Topic(s): HMAS Cerberus, Open Day

A Navy Seahawk helicopter arrives at St Joseph's Primary School, to the delight of students and teachers. (photo: LSIS Paul McCallum)
A Navy Seahawk helicopter arrives at St Joseph's Primary School, to the delight of students and teachers.

Melbourne students from Crib Point Primary and St Joseph’s Catholic Primary Schools were excited to welcome some high flying visitors when one of Navy’s S-70B-2 Seahawk helicopters landed on their sports oval in the lead up to the biennial HMAS Cerberus Open Day, being held on Sunday 27 October 2013.

Piloting the Seahawk was Lieutenant Jordan Taylor who was also enjoying being back in his home patch, having grown up on the Mornington Peninsula before joining the Navy as a direct entry Pilot in 2004.

“It’s a long road from joining as a Navy Pilot to earning your wings, but I’ve had some amazing experiences along the way and since graduating. I’ve learned to fly different aircraft in different situations and environments. It makes the study and effort worth it,” LEUT Taylor said.

“In 2007 I had an overseas posting to the USA. I’ve flown with the US Coast Guard in Texas, been a part of Search and Rescue and Natural Disaster response and helped during Hurricane Ike. There have been some challenging and scary moments, but really rewarding too.”

LEUT Taylor spoke with students on his career and life in the Navy and encouraged them to pursue their dreams with a ‘sky’s the limit’ attitude.

Commanding Officer HMAS Cerberus, Captain Katherine Richards, RAN, also visited the students and was pleased to see the effect the visit had.

“I’ve always been proud to be a part of Navy and what Navy stands for in defending Australia. Today, as a parent watching my children listen to our Navy pilots and air crew, I’m proud to be a part of that too,” said CAPT Richards.

“Navy and the ADF is a family and we value each others contributions. We have a vital role to fulfil; at sea, in the air and on land. These children are part of the reason we as individuals make that choice,” said CAPT Richards.

Students listened with rapt attention as they learned that the 816 Squadron located at HMAS Albatross in Nowra, NSW, operates 16 Sikorsky S-70B-2 Seahawk helicopters and that the primary role of the Seahawk is to provide anti-submarine warfare and anti-surface surveillance. Young faces lit up at the mention of combat in low-level operations over the sea that are conducted by day or night, in all weather, along with descriptions of landing on a ship's deck that pitches and rolls dramatically in heavy seas, often wet with spray.

The crew of the Seahawk will put on both static and Wet Winch water rescue displays during the HMAS Cerberus Open Day alongside other air craft from Navy and Army Squadrons.

Leading Seaman Aircrew Ray Solomon talks with students from St Joseph's Primary School about his job as an aircrewman in a Navy Seahawk helicopter during a visit to St Joseph's Primary School in Crib Point, Victoria.

Leading Seaman Aircrew Ray Solomon talks with students from St Joseph's Primary School about his job as an aircrewman in a Navy Seahawk helicopter during a visit to St Joseph's Primary School in Crib Point, Victoria.

Lieutenant Laura Ruse explains the workings of the cockpit of a Navy Seahawk helicopter to students from Crib Point Primary School.

Lieutenant Laura Ruse explains the workings of the cockpit of a Navy Seahawk helicopter to students from Crib Point Primary School.