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AIR FORCE December 10, 2009
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By FLTLT Eamon Hamilton
IT'S NOT the first time a Chinook
has airlifted a Caribou with its external
hook, but it's almost certainly the last.
On November 18, an Army Chinook
from 5 Aviation's C Squadron airlifted
38SQN Caribou A4-199 from High
Range Field Training Area to RAAF Base
The Caribou had made an emergency
landing in High Range on September 26
due to a fault in the aircraft's horizontal
With impending retirement of the
Caribou fleet and no easy fix for the fault,
the only way to get it home in time was
Technicians from 38SQN removed the
Caribou's engines and tail, lightening the
load. The Air Movements Training and
Development Unit (AMTDU) deployed
an Aircraft Recovery Team comprising
FLGOFF Jamie Osborn, WO1 David
Jaehne, SGT Andrew Hahn and PTEs
Andrew Munro and Aaron Dickson to
prepare A4-199 for its 'final flight'.
AMTDU is a joint Army and Air Force
unit from RAAF Base Richmond, and has
some experience over the last 30 years in
airlifting the Caribou by Chinook.
FLGOFF Osborn, the engineer on the
recovery team, outlined that "this one was
unique in that it was the only one we've
moved with the wings still attached".
The AMTDU aircraft recovery kit
includes spoilers which can be mounted
on top of the Caribou's wings, to disrupt
airflow. A large parachute was fitted to
the tail of the Caribou as well to ensure
The Chinook, which can carry up to
12.7 tonnes of cargo, had little trouble
carrying the 7.2 tonnes of Caribou.
Careful attention was required to how
the Caribou was rigged underneath the
Chinook. "The Caribou flew level in a
perfect nose-down attitude as we would
have designed," FLGOFF Osborn said.
Chinook pilot CAPT Chris McDougall
said the Caribou behaved better than most
"This was heavier than most of the
loads we carry, although not the heaviest
we've carried," he said.
The trip was made home at 45 knots,
with the crew being careful to avoid built-
Even at low speed with spoilers, the
Caribou can become aerodynamic and
thus affect the way it behaves as a load.
"Our biggest consideration was the
speed -- we didn't want enough speed that
the (Caribou's) wings would generate any
lift," CAPT McDougall said.
"It was very stable and behaved much
better than we expected from an aero-
dynamic load -- due mostly to the great
job the AMTDU Aircraft Recovery Team
lift for 'Bou
to fight fires
WHAT A SIGHT: An Army Chinook airlifts an underslung
Caribou from the High Range Training Area to RAAF Base
Townsville after the aircraft made an emergency landing in
September. The joint Army/Air Force recovery effort marked the
last time a Chinook would carry a Caribou, with the retirement
of the fleet last month.
Photo: LCPL Mark Doran
By FLTLT Eamon Hamilton
AIR FORCE swung into action
to assist the NSW Rural Fire Serv-
ice (RFS) fight a spree of bushfires to
A number of RFS-chartered Air
Tractor firebomber aircraft operated
out of RAAF Base Richmond from
Helicopters serving as spotters or
additional firebombers also operated
from the base for the following week.
Richmond's proximity to expanses
of bushland in Sydney's northwest
made it a turnaround point for air-
craft to reload with fuel and water and
rejoin the fight.
Standing behind them all was
325 Expeditionary Combat Support
Squadron (325ECSS), which activat-
ed the base's Emergency Operations
Centre to help the RFS.
Base Security Officer SQNLDR
Brett Green said RFS worked seam-
lessly with the base.
"At times, we operated up to 10
rotary and three fixed-wing fire bomb-
er aircraft from the area adjacent to
our base fire section," SQNLDR Green
said.Ironically, 325ECSS had been bus-
ily preparing for an exercise with the
RFS on November 28 when the call to
As well as coordination support
for RFS, the unit also supplied air-
craft refuelling services, site access
and crew support for the firefighting
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