16 Mei 2011
Bell UH-1 Iroquois of the RNZAF (photo : Gavin Conboy-Airliners)
Up to four Royal New Zealand Air Force (RNZAF) Iroquois together with flight crews and maintenance personnel will be taking part in a night flying exercise from 16-27 May.
Exercise PEKAPEKA 11 will train aircrew in Night Vision Goggle operations and maintenance personnel in night time aircraft maintenance.
From 16 – 27 May the Iroquois helicopters will be operating out of RNZAF Base Ohakea and flying around the Waiouru, Taihape, Turangi and Kaimanawa Ranges area. The Kapiti and Wanganui areas will also be included if there is bad weather. Flying will occur from midday to 2.00am on some of the nights.
Detachment Commander Squadron Leader Oliver Bint says the exercise is an important one for No. 3 Squadron to maintain the Air Force’s Rotary Wing Transport Force capability of conducting day and night flying operations.
“Flying at night provides a different set of challenges than flying during the day, and we need to ensure our crews are trained to operate effectively at any hour.
This is especially the case given the varied nature of the tasks No. 3 Squadron is on standby to support 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. Such tasks include counter-terrorism response, search and rescue, and support to any Civil Defence or disaster relief operations.”
The exercise derives its title from the Maori name for a native New Zealand bat – Pekapeka.