Home' Air Force News : May 26th 2011 Contents From Page 1
CO East Sale and OC of Air Train-
ing Wing GPCAPT Glen Coy said the
two men followed their training and
drills and tried to restore power to the
"They were unable to restart the
engine and immediately followed the
engine shutdown procedures check-
list," GPCAPT Coy said.
"Realising they did not have suf-
ficient glide potential to reach the run-
way, they made a very sound decision
to abandon the aircraft and ejected in
accordance with standing procedures."
At the time of their ejection, their
altitude was below 1000 feet.
Following a rapid search and res-
cue response by base emergency per-
sonnel, they were treated at the scene,
assessed by medics as being in a stable
condition and were then transferred to
hospital overnight for precautionary
SQNLDR Collenette was trans-
ferred to Gippsland hospital and was
subsequently discharged on May 19.
FLTLT Andrews, while also in a
satisfactory condition, was transferred
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Chief of Staff
Graham McBean: (02) 6265 1161
May 26, 2011
WGCDR Sharyn Bolitho,
WHILE the base response to the
ejection of SQNLDR Bruce Col-
lenette and FLTLT Steven Andrews
is still under investigation by the
Aircraft Accident Investigation Team
(AAIT), what was most evident
was that all elements of East Sale's
emergency response teams were
well prepared, and committed to
preserving the safety of the two crew
members and those in the immediate
vicinity of the crash site.
The initial response was attended
by Transfield Base Fire personnel,
Air Force medical assistants and
civilian health practitioners, the CHC
Search and Rescue Helicopter crew,
Security Police and the Base Aviation
Safety Officer. The Air Traffic
Control Section was staffed by a mix
of military and civilian personnel
of 453SQN Flight, who handled the
initial radio response and handover
to the Base Emergency Operations
Centre (EOC) impeccably.
The EOC took control of the situ-
ation, and ensured the initial response
was under control and a quick pas-
sage of information was distributed
to the relevant stakeholders at Air
Training Wing, Defence Aviation
and Air Force Safety and Air Force
As the incident unfolded, all areas
on base set into action. Defence
Support Group staff took records in
the EOC, organised for contractors to
support the emergency and the arrival
of the AAIT; Wilson Security's staff
and Air Force Security Police estab-
lished a cordon and picket around
the crash site; and the School of Air
Warfare photographic staff were soon
at work obtaining imagery from the
ground and from the air.
The safety and wellbeing of
SQNLDR Collenette and FLTLT
Andrews was the priority for all
Central Flying School personnel
rallied to support their crew and to
ensure that next of kin were con-
tacted as soon as possible.
On the clearance of fuel by Fuel
Quality Control staff, crew from
32SQN were in the air that evening
to expedite the initial response of the
AAIT to East Sale.
Chaplains provided initial coun-
selling and support to those affected,
including those dealing with the
The Base Management Forum
had just hours before received tenta-
tive dates for a desktop and field
crash exercise in June. While these
exercises will still go ahead, there
will obviously be a slightly different
perspective on them now.
While the investigation is still
to take place, the base can be com-
mended for its efforts in response to
SOCIAL media has again dem-
onstrated its ability to report
on incidents and take almost
immediate comment and opin-
ion from a wide-ranging audi-
the crash of
at East Sale,
posted a link
to the official
of the crew
members were in a satisfactory
condition in hospital, and in
good spirits after the incident.
Within a short time, many
people had responded positive-
ly, wishing both men a speedy
recovery and giving their best
wishes for a return to flying
If you wish to send a
message of support, join
Facebook and leave a message.
Air Force will pass all the mes-
sages on to SQNLDR Collenette
and FLTLT Andrews.
'My first thought was, 'you've got to
be kidding me', but it was happening
-- SQNLDR Bruce Collenette
to a Melbourne hospital for further
tests and specialist care.
SQNLDR Collenette said that
instinct and training played an impor-
tant part during the emergency.
"My first thought was, 'you've got
to be kidding me', but it was happen-
ing for real.
"We attempted to turn back and
glide to the airfield. We fell short and
took the safest option, which was to
eject out of the aircraft.
"We had probably about three min-
utes to make the decision as to whether
to glide in or eject."
He said he was feeling ok after the
"But if you follow the procedures
and training then you can be confident
you'll come out of it in pretty good
shape," he said.
He also said without any hesitation
that he would be returning to the air.
GPCAPT Coy said their response
was testament to their high level skills
"The aircraft has an excellent [ejec-
tion] safety system and the crew are
very well trained in the operation of
that system and used it correctly," he
"Also, the search and rescue
responses by base emergency servic-
es were swift and appropriate. The
base did an excellent job with their
He said being a "tight-knit com-
munity" at East Sale, everyone was
relieved the men were safe.
"Air Force is providing support to
them and their families, and wishes
them a speedy recovery."
GPCAPT Coy stressed that the Air
Force maintained a very strict airwor-
thiness and safety system.
On May 19, an aviation accident
investigation team commenced an
investigation into the incident at East
Sale. However, GPCAPT Coy again
stressed that it was too early to specu-
late on the possible causes.
In the meantime, PC-9/A flying
operations have been suspended pend-
ing the outcome of the investigation.
SORE BUT SAFE: Two days after
successfully ejecting from his PC-9/A aircraft,
Central Flying School instructor SQNLDR
Bruce Collenette reflects on his close call at
RAAF Base East Sale. Photo: WOFF Ray Bennell
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