Storm damage changes place of drill
Helicopter pilots and crew members are practising high altitude mountain flying in Marlborough this week.
Two Seasprite helicopters from the air force 6 Squadron are taking part in the drills at the Richmond Range. The training operation, known as Exercise Bluebird, is normally conducted in Dip Flat near St Arnaud but was shifted after a storm on Monday.
Detachment commander Lieutenant Commander John Barker said a slip on State Highway 6 prevented tanks used to refuel the aircraft getting to Dip Flat.
Instead, five crews of three people each flew 20 minutes from Base Woodbourne into the Richmond ranges yesterday.
They practised mountain flying for about an hour and 15 minutes, before flying back to refuel then repeating the exercise.
The Auckland-based 6 Squadron arrived in Marlborough on Sunday but did not start the training until Tuesday.
They are to return to Auckland tomorrow after one more run in the mountains today.
Despite the set back caused by the storm, the 15 air crew and 30 engineers taking part in the exercise managed to complete their training, Commander Barker said.
- © Fairfax NZ News