Black Hawks light the sky

Western Suburbs Weekly - - Busi­ness -

IF you had looked up into the night sky over the past month, you may have seen one, two or even five Black Hawk he­li­copters fly­ing in for­ma­tion.

Ac­tu­ally, you would most prob­a­bly have heard them long be­fore you saw them as the air­craft, used by the Aus­tralian Army to move per­son­nel and re­spond to crises, are no­to­ri­ously noisy.

They are in town and be­ing housed at RAAF Base Pearce un­til to­day to al­low their crew to train in Perth and to work with other army units.

Com­manded by Ma­jor He­len Mam­mino, the 171 Squadron is part of the Army’s 6th Avi­a­tion Reg­i­ment.

All of Aus­tralia’s Black Hawks are based at Holswor­thy in NSW and five of them made the jour­ney to Perth, in­side a C17, for this train­ing ex­er­cise.

While here, the he­li­copters were flown around the metropoli­tan area, some­times as low as 90 me­tres from the ground.

The ex­er­cises are done in ev­ery cap­i­tal city each year to en­sure the air­crew are fa­mil­iar with the land­marks in each state.

Each Black Hawk flies with four crew mem­bers – two pi­lots and two air­crew – on board and can carry eight pas­sen­gers.

Ma­jor Mam­mino said Black Hawks were a ‘jack of all trades’ air­craft and could be used for a va­ri­ety of tasks from mov­ing troops to res­cue work, de­fence or de­liv­er­ing aid.

The 34-year-old mother-of-one said she was honoured to have what she con­sid­ered the best job in Aus­tralia and still en­joyed the adrenalin rush that came with the ter­ri­tory.

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