Air Radio Operator Re-Certification /Training - Blue Mountains.
Story and Photos by Comms Member Eric Scaresbrook
On Sunday 21 October, I travelled to Katoomba Airfield to participate in an Aviation exercise organized by the Aviation section of Head Office. At the start of the day, there was a general briefing about the day and also the upcoming and previous fire season in terms of the Aviation section of the RFS.
The exercise was in two sections, namely for Air Base Operators and for Aviation Radio Operators. It was designed as a training and/or re-certification session for those people who may not have had a chance to practice their aviation related skills since doing the initial training. The shelf life for Aviation courses within the RFS is now 5 years.
The groups were divided up with the Air Base Operators training in Marshalling and Airfield operations, refueling, winching and refilling fixed-wing bombers. There were two helicopters and one fixed wing bomber being used.
Naturally, I was within the Aviation Radio Operator (ARO) section of the exercise. Along with Comms members from Blue Mountains, Hawkesbury and Gosford, we were to refresh ourselves with the different protocol required to talk to RFS aircraft and also to practice Flight Following and logging.
There were 3 rotations with one session being held in the Blue Mountains OCV talking with the aircraft taking part in the exercise with the Air Base Operators. Another rotation was practicing logging, Flight Following and typical Aviation radio traffic as a Comms person on the ground and the other rotation was being the Comms person in the aircraft.
It was a good refresher to have just prior to the heat of Fire Season and it was good to have a few aircraft up in the air. You could see in this confined environment that there with 3 aircraft with different needs both in relation to comms but also in relation to the way they take off, land and work and the noise has to be heard to be believed. Also, it was again a chance to work along Comms members from different areas.
Comms members with ARO qualifications will be contacted by either the Zone's L&D Officer or the Aviation section when a similar exercise is being held in the future. For Comms members who do not have ARO, I recommend the course to you. It is planned to run ARO courses for people who have not done the course sometime in 2008, most likely after the current Fire Season.
Blue Mountains OCV
Comms Member Eric ScaresBrook
Photos Supplied by Eric Scaresbrook