Squadron of Orion aircraft conduct one final fly past of Ohakea in farewell flight & More Trending News

 

RNZAF’s 5SQN conduct their final P-3 Orion flypast over the North Island earlier than the retirement of their fleet. Photo / Supplied

Three Orion aircraft had one final fly past Ohakea Air Force Base as half of a farewell flight over the North Island yesterday.

The Royal New Zealand Air Force (RNZAF) No. 5 Squadron’s P-3K2 fleet of six planes is being retired on the finish of the month after almost 60 years’ service.

To honour the squadron’s service, three planes left RNZAF Base Auckland at Whenuapai yesterday and flew over Waikato, Manawatū, Napier, Tauranga, the Coromandel coast, Great Barrier Island and Whangārei, with shut formation fly-pasts over Ohakea, in addition to Wellington and Auckland harbours.

The Orions are being changed by 4 P8-A Poseidon maritime surveillance aircraft, which might be based mostly out of a newly constructed hangar at Ohakea.

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The first of the brand new planes landed in Aotearoa final month.

RNZAF No. 5 Squadron commanding officer wing commander Glen Donaldson mentioned it was a historic time to have a good time the lengthy service of a tremendous aircraft, but additionally an thrilling time of transition into a brand new period of maritime patrol.

“This is a bittersweet moment for us, where we have to farewell a faithful old friend who has looked after not just our crews for nearly 60 years, but all of New Zealand and our friends and neighbours in the Pacific,” Donaldson mentioned.

The first Orion arrived in the nation in 1966 and since then the fleet has carried out surveillance and reconnaissance missions over each continent.

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While New Zealand’s unique financial zone, the South Pacific and Southern Ocean had been its main working areas, the planes additionally served in missions from Antarctica to the Arctic, the Middle East, Southeast Asia and thru Europe and North America.

The six Orions supplied a spread of providers for presidency businesses and communities, together with fisheries and customs surveillance, search and rescue, humanitarian assist and catastrophe aid.

Missions included the seek for flight MH370 in 2014, the search and rescue of a number of vessels caught in an enormous storm in the course of the Auckland to Suva yacht race on Queen’s Birthday 1994 and being the primary aircraft to offer reconnaissance after the Hunga Tonga Hunga-Ha’api eruption in December 2021.

In complete, the six craft flew slightly below 150,000 hours, with every airplane having been flown for between 22,000 and 26,600 hours.

“That lifesaving sound of a P-3 overhead, heard by many, will be gone. But for all those people who have had any sort of interaction with the aircraft, she’ll always be in our hearts and memories,” Donaldson mentioned.

Squadron of Orion aircraft conduct one final fly past of Ohakea in farewell flight

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Squadron of Orion aircraft conduct one final fly past of Ohakea in farewell flight

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