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6 September, 2021

Behind the scenes of Army Aviation

About 2,500 local residents and members of the wider community had the rare opportunity to have an up close and personal look at a range of current and former military aircraft as well as the chance to meet Supercar Championship drivers Will Davison and Anton De Pasquale at the Australian Army Aviation Training Centre Open Day held on Saturday August 28.

The Open Day drew crowds of families keen to check out the range of aircraft on display. Local children Liam, Vanessa, Archer, Imogen and Piper enjoyed having a peek inside one of the helicopters based at Swartz Barracks.

The Open Day gave the Army Aviation Centre team an opportunity to welcome back local residents to the facility.

Army Aviation Training Centre Commandant Colonel Charlie Barton said the base can only continue to operate with the assistance of local residents and surrounding landholders.

“The day is about showing appreciation to the community and landholders for their support over the years,” he said.

Alongside the static displays, Colonel Barton said the military demonstrations  were a key talking point for visitors at the Open Day.

Eye-opening exhibitions gave residents an opportunity to see the skills of Army Aviation pilots and crew as well as an example of the work military dogs can undertake in an emergency situation or war zone.

“The flying and military demonstrations were a highlight,” Colonel Barton said.

“They gave people an insight into what we do during a training exercise.

“Many people see us flying on a regular basis above the town, but this was more up close.”

Colonel Barton said the base was fortunate to have the support of Republic of Singapore Air Force (RSAF) who showcased one of the new Chinook helicopters.

Oakey residents were able to view inside one of the advanced aircraft which were only delivered to the local base earlier this year.

“They are one of the best tenants we could have. We are very fortunate that they are based here,” Colonel Barton said.

He said the success of the Open Day has prompted the Army Aviation Centre to look into making it a regular event.

“We certainly have ambitions to have some frequency to the event,” he said. 

“We will be having discussions about it. 

“I’m not sure at this stage whether it will be something we have every year or every second year.    

“We will be considering both possibilities.”

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