Saturday, September 29, 2018

RAAF Search and Rescue (CHC Helicopters) Sikorsky S-76A VH-HRP "Choppa 22" Pops into Mackay and Gladstone Airports

On Saturday 29 September, Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) Search and Rescue (SAR) Sikorsky S-76A helicopter VH-HRP was noted flying South from Townsville to RAAF Base Amberley via Mackay and Gladstone Airports.

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VH-HRP 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 missions. On this ferry flight, it was noted using radio callsign of "Choppa 22".

VH-HRP "Choppa 22" has been in Townsville to provide support for RAAF F/A-18 Hornets from Number 3 Squadron and PC-9/A aircraft from Number 4 Squadron during the RAAF's Exercise Black Dagger which has just completed.

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Exercise Black Dagger is a field training exercise that was held at RAAF Base Townsville and surrounding airspace.  The Exercise is the culmination of Number 60 Joint Terminal Attack Controller (JTAC) course designed to produce combat-ready JTAC-qualified personnel.

Of interest, VH-HRP "Choppa 22" has had a long deployment with it originally noted heading North from RAAF Base Williamtown via Longreach Airport (pictured) - amongst other places - in late July when it headed to the Northern Territory where it provided support for the joint Military Exercise Pitch Black 2018 which will was held at both RAAF Base Darwin and RAAF Base Tindal (Katherine) in August. From Darwin, it flew across to Townsville in early September.

Photos taken by Calen Harvey and 'Shinpow16'  ©

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