Monday, 4 April 2005

Sea King Tragedy

It wasn't that long ago that Carmel, Andrew and I had a tour through a Navy Sea King, at Navy day here in Canberra.

I asked one of the crewman about the fatigue life of the Sea Kings in Aussie service. He told me that they'd been originally bought to serve on the replacement for HMAS Melbourne, our last carrier.

However, with the Falklands War, the deal for purchasing one or two of the HMS Invincible class fell through. No replacement carrier was bought, so the Sea Kings never did get used at sea, until HMAS Manoora and HMAS Kanimbla came into service about a decade ago.

So unlike similar helicopters in Canadian service (which should have been retired decades ago, they've been thrashed to death), and many others in US and Royal Navy service, they're not exactly new, but have lots of fatigue life left. They've spent much of their lifetime in hangers. Old, requiring a lot of maintenance compared with newer designs (15 hrs hanger for 1 hr airborne), but reliable.

In Memoriam


* Lieutenant Mathew Davey,doctor, ACT
* Lieutenant Matthew Goodall, helicopter observer, NSW
* Lieutenant Paul Kimlin, pilot, ACT
* Lieutenant Jonathan King,pilot, Queensland
* Petty Officer Stephen Slattery, medic, NSW
* Leading Seaman Scott Bennett, aircrewman, NSW

Air Force

* Squadron Leader Paul McCarthy, senior medical officer, Western Australia
* Flight Lieutenant Lyn Rowbottom, Queensland
* Sergeant Wendy Jones, Queensland

And reading this, I realise that I taught (then) Midshipman Matthew Goodall at ADFA in 1999.

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