Home' Air Force News : February 3rd 2011 Contents 19
February 3, 2011
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RAAF Base East Sale had an unex-
pected visitor on the afternoon of Janu-
ary 20 when a Qantas jet diverted from
Melbourne due to bad weather.
The Boeing 737 aircraft, which
was on a routine flight from Canberra
with 101 passengers on board, was
in a holding pattern because of
unsuitable weather at Melbourne's
Tullamarine airport when low fuel
became an issue.
The East Sale air traffic control
approach supervisor, Mark Hogben,
said the incident began at 3.20pm
when Melbourne air traffic control
contacted the tower at East Sale ask-
ing about the prevailing surface wind
Five minutes later, Melbourne
advised that the Qantas aircraft would
be diverting to East Sale.
XO 30SQN at Sale SQNLDR
Stu Wheal said the East Sale tower
was advised of the inbound aircraft at
about 3.30pm and it landed safely 17
East Sale air traffic control direct-
ed it to the 32SQN flightlines and the
refuelling was carried out.
"The aircraft was successfully
refuelled and took off without further
incident," SQNLDR Wheal said.
Units involved in the incident
were the East Sale detachment of the
newly-reformed 453SQN, Transfield
air movements and refueller contrac-
tors and 30SQN's Air Base Command
Post and Security Police.
Sale fills fuel void
"The staff at East Sale respond-
ed to the diversion in an appropriate
and timely manner," the temporary
commander of the Air Force Training
Group, GPCAPT Phil Lavelle, said.
The senior ADF officer at East
Sale, GPCAPT Glen Coy, said that
while East Sale's primary focus was
training, the base retained an opera-
tional support capability.
"32SQN has shown this recently
in providing airlift support for flood
"In this case, it was pleasing to
see a team effort combine to assist the
Qantas aircraft and get it back on its
way with minimal delay," GPCAPT
SQNLDR Wheal agreed.
"It was a great example of how
all in Air Force can pull together at
a moment's notice and make things
work," SQNLDR Wheal said.
"People from all arms (uni-
formed and contracted) more than
willingly stepped up and did their
duties without hesitation to see the
passengers and crew aboard depart
and land in Melbourne safely."
READY TO HELP: Transfield refuellers at RAAF Base East Sale prepare to assist the Qantas B737 after it
diverted to the base due to low fuel concerns while waiting to land at Melbourne.
Photo: AC Oliver Carter
New body armour
ADF personnel deployed in
Afghanistan can look forward to
a lighter body armour as the first
batch of the new Tiered Body
Armour System (TBAS) comes
off the production line. The new
system is lighter, fits better, is
more comfortable and provides
more mobility than body armour
currently in use. The TBAS also
allows troops to insert different
types of ballistic plates in the vest.
Because it is Australian made and
designed it can be adjusted and
modified at any time to suit field
requirements. About 1600 sets
will be constructed during the next
few months. TBAS has been tested
by Special Forces, Navy clearance
divers and Army soldiers during the
past 18 months.
A RESTRUCTURE of the Joint
Strike Fighter (JSF) Program in the
US has effectively put Australia's
choice of aircraft to the front of
the production queue at Lockheed
Martin. Australia is buying the
conventional take-off and landing
variant which US Defense Secretary
Robert Gates said was on schedule
and had exceeded its test flight tar-
gets. The variant being developed
for the US Marines was experienc-
ing significant testing problems and
had been placed at the back of the
overall JSF production sequence.
The Australian Government
approved the acquisition of the first
14 aircraft in November 2009. The
first two aircraft are scheduled for
delivery in 2014.
Head of the queue
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