It was a week of “firsts” when instructors from HMAS Albatross’s 723 Squadron (Joint Helicopter School) commenced training with the Royal Australian Navy’s new-generation Multi-role Aviation Training Vessel (MATV), MV Sycamore.
It was the first time RAN conducted deck landings in the EC-135 helicopter and also the first time MV Sycamore conducted deck landing training.
“More than forty deck landings were made and five instructors achieved their Deck Landing Qualifications” 723 Squadron Commanding Officer, CMDR Bruce Willington said.
“This was the realisation of hard work and dedication by several organisations and personnel over the course of many years.
“The initial focus is train-the-trainer flying for all Australian Defence Force and Boeing Defence Australia instructors prior to commencing student instruction next year.” CMDR Willington said.
“Some of these instructors have never conducted deck landings in a helicopter before, these are challenging and demanding training evolutions for both the aircraft and the crew.”
“Something like flying the aircraft to a rolling and pitching platform requires extreme concentration and the skills to ensure success. Completing these challenging serials in one of the most demanding environments for helicopter aircrew is immensely rewarding.”
CMDR Willington described Sycamore as “a key enabler to 723 Squadron.”
“Sycamore’s primary role is to support maritime aviation training which represents a unique collaboration between the RAN, Teekay Shipping (Australia) who crew, operate and maintain the vessel and OPSTAR who provide the flight deck operational support team.
MV Sycamore will provide a platform to provide training for the Royal Australian Navy and Australian Army pilots, Maritime Aviation Warfare Officers and Aircrewman trainees on basic course. In addition to helicopter deck landings, the MATV can be used for training in helicopter refuelling operations and air traffic control. It will allow the Navy to undertake a range of other operations including weapons recovery and mine warfare training support, navigation training and dive support and humanitarian aid.