ARMY AIR DISPLAY WOWS FAMILIES
SOME residents aren’t too fussed about military helicopters flying over their homes, but not Pat Wilson.
For the Lilyvale Meringandan West resident, the regular flyovers are welcome and make her feel safe.
“They fly over while I’m working in the garden.
“I think they’re great. “On Anzac Day I had nine helicopters fly over my place and it was great.
“I think there were six Tigers and three Chinooks. “They make me feel safe.” Mrs Wilson was one of more than 2500 people who took advantage of the Oakey Army Aviation Centre’s open day on Saturday to view up close some of the military hardware which is based in Oakey.
Visitors of all ages enjoyed climbing on and through various helicopters such as a Blackhawk, MRH90, ARH Tigers and Chinooks, each with personnel who use the helicopters each day on hand to explain the intricacies of their “office”.
“For me personally, it’s good to interact with the people on a day like this,” Craftsman Taehee Cho said from his station for the day beside an MRH90 helicopter.
“I’m a trainee technician so when they fly back I help to maintain it.
“The main purpose of these (MRH90) is to transport troops and utilities.”
Craftsman Cho feels at home at the Oakey Army Aviation Base which his just as well because he lives on base.
Emma Sutton-Schmidt and her mother Georgia had a personal tour of the military hardware by dad and husband Tony Schmidt, a medic on the base.
Corporal Schmidt served in Iraq where he flew in Blackhawks while these days from the base he jumps aboard an MRH90 when the need arises.
“The medics who work here at the Medical Centre are also part of the crash response crew so when there’s a crash we go with the crew,” he said.
Asked what the helicopters are like to ride in, Cpl Schmidt answered: “Noisy, very noisy.”
Jessica, Samuel and Karina Anderson also had a special interest in the mock battle scene put on by two MRH90 helicopters, two Tigers and “enemy” soldiers on the ground.
Their father and husband, Major Ben Anderson was flying one of MRH90s, making it a special day for the family.
The open day at the Oakey Army Aviation Centre was the first held for about 10 years.