Visit to Ohakea Air Force Base

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

I spent Monday and Tuesday on base at Ohakea with parliamentary colleague Kris Faafoi learning about the various elements that combine together to deliver our Air Force capability.

The operations we visited included security & safety, avionics, maintenance, force readiness, deployable fueling, fire fightihg, pilot training and, of course, the aircraft & crews. We were able to observe first hand how these elements operate together and also to learn how they operate in support both of our other forces and with forces from allied countries.

The professionalism and capability of the men and women in our air force is evident in all that they do and particularly in how they go about doing it. They take traditional Kiwi ‘No 8 wire’ ingenuity and apply rigor and discipline in its application that is truly outstanding. We have much to be proud of.

And there is no going past the impressiveness of the NH90 and A109 helicopters, the sleekness and sheer beauty of the T-6 Texan trainers that simply scream performance, nor the understated capabilities of the King Air twin turbo prop.

It was a fascinating experience and one that I feel truly privileged to have been able to take part in. I would like to thank the Royal New Zealand Air Force for the opportunity and particularly Group Captain Nick Olney and all of his team for their warm welcome and the comprehensive programme they structured for us. I would also like to thank “Muscles” for the flight in the King Air – a wonderful experience to cap off an amazing visit.