816 Squadron Seahawk engages race fans at Grand Prix

Published on USN LT Chris Plappert (author and photographer)

Location(s): Albert Park, VIC

Topic(s): S-70B-2 Seahawk, 816 Squadron

Spectators at the Formula 1 Australian Grand Prix in Melbourne take a close look at the Navy S-70B-2 Seahawk helicopter. (photo: LT Chris Plappert (USN))
Spectators at the Formula 1 Australian Grand Prix in Melbourne take a close look at the Navy S-70B-2 Seahawk helicopter.

816 Squadron aircrew and maintainers landed in the action zone at Albert Park Raceway last Sunday, to show off the Navy’s S-70B-2 Seahawk helicopter. The Seahawk was among a number of Australian Defence Force assets deployed to the Formula 1 Melbourne Grand Prix as a community engagement and recruiting tool.

United States exchange officer, Lieutenant Chris Plappert, who is working with 816 Squadron as a flight safety officer said the race enthusiasts were keen to learn about the capability of the Seahawk.

“Many race goers were interested in learning the helicopters speed and asked if they could have a joy flight. Young race goers were also interested in what was required to join up as aircrew.

“Some of the more technically minded crowd members asked our maintainers about the engines and the types of repairs they conducted. And of course everyone wanted a photo,” said LT Plappert, USN.

An immense amount of behind the scenes work goes into preparing the aircraft for the event. This includes flight inspections, preparing the landing site and ensuring the aircraft is properly manoeuvred to limit the impact of the Seahawk’s downwash.

“Taking part in events like the Grand Prix is a great way to show the public what Navy is all about. The kids getting a photo in the cockpit today are tomorrow’s aircrew and Navy leaders,” LT Plappert said.