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.