Four new helicopter loadmasters have graduated from their basic course at Royal New Zealand Air Force (RNZAF) Base Ohakea.

The graduates are from Taihape, Upper Hutt, Auckland’s North Shore and Nelson and will go on to be helicopter loadmasters at No. 3 Squadron at Base Ohakea and No. 6 Squadron at Base Auckland.

A cool head, quick reactions and critical thinking skills are essential for a helicopter loadmaster to be able to assess fast changing situations and to be able to determine the right course of action, and then communicate it effectively to achieve a successful mission.

The helicopter loadmaster training is demanding and requires a high degree of skill to ensure personnel are ready for all scenarios and environments.

At No. 6 Squadron a loadmaster’s role involves winching, photography, load lifting, operating the Mag 58 machine gun and in-flight refuelling for the Seasprite on Royal New Zealand Navy (RNZN) ships.

At No. 3 Squadron a loadmaster is responsible for any passengers, underslung loads, rescue hoists on search and rescue missions and delivering aid within New Zealand or the South Pacific.

In addition they will support the New Zealand Army, Royal New Zealand Navy, New Zealand Police and other government agencies. 

In the last year, NH90 helicopters and crew supported the Australian Defence Force-led response to the bushfires in Australia, and also supported the response to the Whakaari/White Island eruption.

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