816 Squadron take V8 Supercar fans by surprise

Published on LEUT Andrew Ragless (author and photographer)

Location(s): Darwin, NT

Topic(s): 816 Squadron, V8 Supercars

An 816 Squadron Seahawk helicopter draws a big crowd at the SKYCITY Triple Crown, V8 Supercars event at Hidden Valley raceway, 14-16 June 2013. (photo: LEUT Andrew Ragless)
An 816 Squadron Seahawk helicopter draws a big crowd at the SKYCITY Triple Crown, V8 Supercars event at Hidden Valley raceway, 14-16 June 2013.

Motor sport aficionados are used to seeing fast cars and even faster aircraft at the SKYCITY Triple Crown V8 Supercars event in Darwin, but this year, one of the Navy's Seahawk helicopters has taken centre stage at the premier motor sport event.

An 816 Squadron, S-70B-2 Seahawk helicopter grabbed the attention of a crowd of 50,000 spectators who were roaming the track for three days of high octane action.

Able Seaman Aviation Technician Avionics Maddison Chandley said the Seahawk on static display was met with disbelief by some of the Territory's youngest motor sport fans.

"A lot of the younger kids came up to me and asked me if it's real," she said.

"We've come a long way from Nowra and I guess the kids up here aren't used to seeing a Navy helicopter.

"And the older guys, they love it!  They've been asking questions about everything, even the smallest things on the side of the aircraft.

Aviation enthusiast (and petrol head) Ray Irlam from Katherine said he loved the cars and the FA-18 fly past but he could get up close and personal with the Seahawk.

"We sat in the pilot's seat and had a good look in the cockpit. I've never done that before and it was awesome," he said.

The two Seahawk helicopters from 816 Squadron made were deployed to Darwin for a week of intensive training for aircrew and maintenance personnel. Whilst deployed training was also conducted with the crew of patrol boat Ardent Three, while the crew of a Seahawk assisted local rescue agencies on 8 June by locating personnel from a capsized fishing dinghy on the shore of Bynoe Harbour.