Home' Asia Pacific Defence Reporter : APDR-Nov-02.11.2011 Contents 8 | Asia Pacific Defence Reporter
Company awards trophy to top
graduate of Helicopter Qualification
Boeing and the Australian Army
today announced on October 25 the
graduation of the 100th helicopter
pilot to earn their wings through
the Helicopter Qualification Course
delivered under the Army Aviation
Training and Training Support (AATTS)
program in Oakey.
“Graduating the 100th helicopter
pilot is a significant achievement for
both Boeing and the Australian Army.
It demonstrates the success and value
of the AATTS program,” said Mark
Brownsey, senior manager of AATTS for Boeing Defence Australia.
Boeing recognised the milestone with the establishment of a trophy
for the top graduate of each Helicopter Qualification Course. Lt. Erin
Pederick has been named the first recipient.
“The trophy is further recognition of the great partnership and ‘one
team’ approach Boeing and the Army have toward training aviators to fly
and earn their wings,” said Brownsey.
Col. Peter Steel, Commandant of the Army Aviation Training Centre,
congratulated Pederick and her classmates in the pilots’ course.
“The award of the Army Flying Badge is the most significant
achievement in a pilot’s career and takes approximately a year of
intensive study and flying,” Steel said.
“However, the training does not stop here. Now that Lt. Pederick and
her coursemates have earned their ‘wings’, they have just begun their
operational training on the Army’s battlefield helicopters. Once they
complete that training, they will be posted to their operational aviation
regiments to commence their individual Army Aviation careers.
“They should wear their wings with pride and follow in the footsteps of
the gallant aviators who have preceded them,” Steel added. “In the words
of an older Army aviator, ‘Officer training was tough but doable; flying
training was tougher and just survivable’.” APDR
The men and women of the Royal Australian
Navy Patrol Boat, HMAS Broome, successfully
prevented an environmental and maritime
catastrophe off Papua New Guinea by providing
assistance to a commercial container ship,
which had lost power and was drifting towards
At approximately 9.20am on October 24, the
Australian Maritime Safety Authority requested
Defence support in aiding the container vessel
MV Vega Fynen, which had lost engine power and
was drifting towards a charted reef, 100 nautical
miles south-east of Port Moresby.
Commanding Officer of HMAS Broome
Commander John Navin said his Ship’s Company
were in final preparations to berth at the PNG
town of Alotau when the new orders were received
“The crew took the change of task in their
stride as our Patrol Boat turned away from port
and increased speed,” Commander Navin said.
“The rendering of assistance for the safety of
life at sea is at the forefront of every mariner’s
On receiving the call, HMAS Broome sailed 146
nautical miles at best speed to rendezvous with
the 13,000-ton MV Vega Fynen and made contact
with its captain to offer assistance to his crew
should they be required to evacuate their ship.
While on station, HMAS Broome’s command
team confirmed MV Vega Fynen’s drift rate and
direction and worked to develop options to
prevent the almost certain grounding on the reef.
Commander Navin said his team planned a
stern-to-stern tow option in the hope they could
at least arrest the drift of MV Vega Fynen until
commercial salvage vessels and tugs arrived.
“The tow line was passed to the MV Vega
Fynen only 700 metres before the ship entered
uncharted waters as the sun was setting,”
Commander Navin said.
Despite the MV Vega Fynen’s large size and
tonnage, HMAS Broome was able to arrest the
northerly drift of the container vessel, and slowly
pull it south and away from immediate danger.
The Armidale Class Patrol Boat, dwarfed by
the commercial carrier, kept the ship under tow
for six hours until passing the tow line to a
commercial tug, better suited for the role.
After successfully handing over the job, the
Ship’s Company of HMAS Broome sailed back to
Alotau to continue with their planned activities.
This morning they awoke to a congratulatory
message from Port Moresby’s Rescue Coordination
The signal highlighted that the actions of
HMAS Broome almost certainly averted a major
“The measured risks taken in this dangerous
evolution proved of great benefit and not only
held the MV Vega Fynen but slowly brought her
back into deeper waters,” the message stated.
Commander Navin said his Ship’s Company
responded to the task at hand and achieved a
complicated task on a scale that had not been
attempted by an Armidale Class Patrol Boat
“The crew are proud of their achievement and
satisfied that their training and skills were put to
good use to save lives and save the environment,”
Commander Navin said.
“The Master of the MV Vega Fynen was very
appreciative of the efforts of HMAS Broome
and expressed his sincere thanks once we had
recovered our towing equipment.”
HMAS Broome was on its way to visit Alotau,
PNG, to participate in Exercise Paradise 2011,
when it was tasked to assist in the search and
rescue mission. APDR
MV Vega Fynen under tow. Credit: CoA
Boeing, Australian Army Graduate 100th Helicopter Pilot
HMAS Broome averts maritime disaster
Lt. Erin Pederick. Credit: Boeing
APDR Nov 2011.indd 8
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