Saturday, July 8, 2017

RAAF Search and Rescue Sikorsky S-76A Helicopter VH-LAI Arrives at Rockhampton Airport as "Choppa 21"

During the afternoon on Saturday 8 July a nice pair of of Australian Defense Force (ADF) helicopters touched down at Rockhampton Airport no doubt in support of joint Military Exercise Talisman Saber 2017 (TS17).

The first to arrive was identified as Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) Search and Rescue Sikorsky S-76A helicopter VH-LAI which looked to arrive into Rocky from RAAF Base Williamtown via Armidale and Toowoomba as "Choppa 21".  It took up a parking spot beside Rocky's Cross Runway 04/22.

VH-LAI is owned by Lloyd Helicopters and operated by CHC Helicopters Australia, and is one of a number of choppers used for RAAF Search and Rescue jobs.

CHC Helicopters Australia / Lloyd Helicopters Agusta AW139 helicopter VH-SYJ is also around Rocky in support of Talisman Saber 2017.  It arrived into Rockhampton Airport directly from RAAF Base Amberley last Sunday 2 July and was heard to use the radio callsign of "Choppa 27".

File photo

It has since taken up residence within the Shoalwater Bay Training Area (SWBTA) but has flown into Rocky on at least two occasions presumably completing med-evac flights out of the training area.

Photos taken by Daniel Bishop and Kayanne Hardsman  ©

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