First joint helicopter school students receive their wings
September 20, 2018
The first intake of Army and Navy Pilots, Aviation Warfare Officers and Aircrew have received their wings, graduating from the Joint Helicopter School within 723 Squadron at HMAS Albatross, Nowra.
The first to use Boeing’s integrated Helicopter Aircrew Training System, students completed ground-based virtual training to safely gain the skills needed to move onto live training with the EC135 aircraft and complete their course.
Attending the graduation, Boeing Defence Australia general manager of Integrated Services and Support Murray Brabrook said it was a proud moment to see Australia’s future combat helicopter aircrew receive their wings.
“We’re incredibly proud to have provided these women and men with a modern training system that ensures they’re not only qualified, but are confident they have the skills and experience to transition into operational training,” said Brabrook.
Commanding Officer 723SQN, Bruce Willington, described the graduation ceremony as an ‘historic day.’
“In the space of just over three and a half years, the Capability and Acquisition Sustainment Group, along with Boeing, Thales and Defence have delivered training outcomes to ensure we have professional, resilient helicopter aircrews with sound decision making and teamwork skills,” said Willington. “This is helping to underwrite Navy’s ability to effectively fight and win on land and in the marine environment.”
Presenting the 28 graduates with their wings, Commander Fleet Air Arm, Commodore Chris Smallhorn, congratulated the graduates on their achievements.
“You are now off on the next phase of your careers where you will be tested even further,” CMDR Smallhorn said. “Always push for excellence in whatever you do.”
Dux of the Pilot Rotary Course was Lieutenant Rob McBeath. Aviation Warfare Officer Dux was Sub Lieutenant Ashley Hill and the Aircrewman Dux was Leading Seaman Simon Zammit.
Up to 116 students are expected to train at the school per year over the next 25 years.
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