New avi­a­tion medicine unit opens


An Auck­land air base now has a new avi­a­tion medicine unit.

The en­ergy-ef­fi­cient Avi­a­tion Medicine Unit (AMU) at Royal New Zea­land Air Force Base Auck­land in When­u­a­pai was opened by Min­is­ter of De­fence Mark Mitchell on June 9.

It is the first build­ing at the base to com­bine so­lar power en­ergy for heat­ing wa­ter and cap­tur­ing rain wa­ter for flush­ing toi­lets. AMU staff pro­vide avi­a­tion medicine train­ing, hu­man per­for­mance re­search and de­vel­op­ment, and sup­port for air­craft ac­ci­dent and flight safety in­ves­ti­ga­tion.

Spe­cial­ist in Oc­cu­pa­tional and Avi­a­tion Medicine Wing Com­man­der Dr Andy Camp­bell said it was great hav­ing the new build­ing af­ter spend­ing three years work­ing out of tem­po­rary ac­com­mo­da­tion.

A key part of con­struc­tion was the re­lo­ca­tion of a 27-tonne re­fur­bished al­ti­tude cham­ber, which was in­stalled in the build­ing af­ter the shell was con­structed. The cham­ber is the only one of its type in New Zea­land and al­lows air crew from the New Zea­land De­fence Force and other or­gan­i­sa­tions to ex­pe­ri­ence as­pects of the avi­a­tion en­vi­ron­ment be­fore they fly. The AMU is stage one of a three-stage de­vel­op­ment. Stage two and three in­clude a re­place­ment base med­i­cal and den­tal fa­cil­ity and an aero med­i­cal evac­u­a­tion unit.


An al­ti­tude cham­ber will pro­vide train­ing for the avi­a­tion en­vi­ron­ment.

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