Acting Chief of Air Force AVM Mike Yardley in front of the RNZAF P-3K2 in Perth this week, with some of the current deployment members and the Task Group Commander, Group Captain Craig Heap of the Royal Australian Air Force.
26 April 2014
The Royal New Zealand Air Force (RNZAF) P-3K2 Orion taking part in the search for missing Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 is in the air again today on its 27th sortie over the Southern Indian Ocean. It completed its 26th search flight on Thursday, bringing its total flying time to 265.5 hours over 47 days.
The aircraft took off from RAAF Base Pearce near Perth at 11.30am (New Zealand time).
Anzac Day was a scheduled crew rest day, and the current 21-strong detachment attended yesterday’s Dawn Service at Kings Park in central Perth, one of the largest Anzac commemorations in Australia, with over 50,000 people in the park.
“It was very special, being able to attend an Anzac parade in Australia and share the day with our fellow Anzacs,” said Flight Lieutenant Lisa McLay, an operations officer with the detachment. “We went along in flying overalls - lots of people in the crowd noticed us and made us feel very welcome.”
Acting Chief of Air Force Air Vice-Marshal (AVM) Mike Yardley, who visited the detachment this week, said that although many nations were involved in the search, the strong ties between the two Anzac countries have been very much in evidence over the past weeks.
“We’re family. We have worked very well together, as we always do, whatever the task,” he said. “And back home, it was also a great pleasure to welcome my counterpart Air Marshal Geoff Brown, the Australian Chief of Air Force, to Anzac Day ceremonies in Wellington.”
AVM Yardley also paid tribute to all the RNZAF staff who have deployed to Perth during the search. So far, about 40 RNZAF personnel have been part of the detachment, and the P-3K2 has searched around 1.5 million square kilometres of the Southern Indian Ocean – an area about eight times the size of New Zealand.
“They are doing an outstanding job,” he said. “I am very proud of them all. We stand out over there for the top-class training our people receive, and for the capability of our upgraded aircraft, the P-3K2 Orion. The search controllers have been very impressed with our work rate and the high performance standards we have achieved.”
CAPTION: Acting Chief of Air Force AVM Mike Yardley in front of the RNZAF P-3K2 in Perth this week, with some of the current deployment members and the Task Group Commander, Group Captain Craig Heap of the Royal Australian Air Force.
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