Hawks hovering around Perth

A Black Hawk helicopter.
A Black Hawk helicopter.

Actually, you will probably hear them long before you see them as the aircraft, used by the Australian Army to move personnel and respond to crises, are notoriously noisy.

They are in town and being housed at RAAF Base Pearce until March 24 to allow their crew to train in Perth and to work with other army units.

Commanded by Major Helen Mammino, the 171 Squadron is part of the Army’s 6th Aviation Regiment.

All of Australia’s Black Hawks are based at Holsworthy in NSW and five of them have made the journey to Perth, inside a C17, for this training run.

While here, the helicopters will be flown around the metropolitan area, sometimes as low as 90m from the ground. The exercises are done in every capital city each year to ensure the aircrew are familiar with landmarks in each state.

Each Black Hawk flies with four crew members ” two pilots and two aircrew ” on board and can fit eight passengers in the back.

Major Mammino said Black Hawks were a ‘jack-of-all-trades’ aircraft and could be used for a variety of tasks from moving troops to rescue work, defence or delivering aid. The 34-year-old mother-of-one said she was honoured to have what she considered the best job in Australia and still enjoyed the adrenalin rush that came with the territory.