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Caleb Muggeridge - Hobart

There's a lot to be said about flying metal rather than turning metal.

Lieutenant Caleb Muggeridge says he has enjoyed the transition from swapping a metal lathe in a workshop to the controls of a Royal Australian Navy Seahawk helicopter.

A Navy Seahawk helicopter pilot embarked in HMAS Arunta, he is currently serving on Operation MANITOU in the Middle East region on Australia's mission to counter terrorism and promote maritime security.

The Launceston Church Grammar School graduate completed a Fitting and Machining trade at Cadbury, Hobart before he decided to pursue a long-held dream to join the Navy as a pilot in 2009.

"I have always been interested in aviation but after realising that I had the pre-requisites to join as a pilot I decided to give it a crack and have found it to be a hugely challenging but rewarding journey," LEUT Muggeridge said.

The training to reach his position as an embarked Seahawk pilot included six months of officer training in 2009, then four years of flight training and other warfare related courses.

The flight training involved about 200 hours of fixed flying training on CT4B trainer and PC-9 advanced trainer aircraft followed by transition to Squirrel and Bell 429 helicopters, and finally 12 months of Operational Flight Training on the S-70B-2 Seahawk.

The S-70B-2 "Bravo" Seahawk has been the Navy's primary Anti-Submarine helicopter for the past 20 years.

"I have had some amazing experiences," LEUT Muggeridge said.

"Doing things like exercising with our own submarines many miles out to sea, at night and flying on night vision goggles, or carrying film crews for the Royal Australian Navy International Fleet Review in Sydney with numerous foreign warships filling Sydney harbour."

At home in Nowra, NSW where he is usually based at HMAS Albatross, he enjoys getting into the outdoors to paraglide or kayaking, and also keeps busy visiting his numerous nieces and nephews in various parts of Australia including Hobart.

HMAS Arunta deployed on 13 November from Garden Island, Rockingham, Western Australia. Arunta is the 64th Australian Navy ship to be deployed to the region since 1990.