Masthead :: Air Force News :: The official newspaper of the Royal Australian Air Force

Top Stories
Your Career

About us
Navigation Bar End



Top Stories - Centrepiece

The master has arrived
Christmas comes early for Air Force with the arrival of first Globemaster

Volume 48, No. 23, December 14, 2006

IT'S THIS BIG: 36SQN co-pilot FLTLT Scott Hyland welcomes the new C-17 to RAAF Base Amberley with open arms.
Photo by WO Steve Dent


36SQN CO WGCDR Linda Corbould carries the big cermeonial commissioning key from the C-17 at the arrival ceremony in Canberra.
Photo by WO Steve Dent

BIG NEWS: AIRCDRE Glen Steed talks to local media after the arrival of the C-17 at RAAF Base Amberley.
Photo by AC Aaron Curran

By SQNLDR Phil Smith

UNTIL now, Air Force hasn’t had an aircraft to make the C-130 Hercules look small, but its first C-17 Globemaster III did just that as it sat beside its Air Lift partner on the hard stand at Fairbairn.

Two official welcomes awaited the 36SQN crew delivering the first of their four new heavy lifters after its Trans-Pacific flight on December 4.

In Canberra, the aircraft was welcomed by a galaxy of VIPs, including Prime Minister John Howard, Defence Minister Brendan Nelson, CDF ACM Angus Houston and CAF AIRMSHL Geoff Shepherd. CO 36SQN, WGCDR Linda Corbould gave them a close look at the Globemaster with a low pass before stopping in front of them.

Carrying the huge ceremonial commissioning key, WGCDR Corbould and her crew were welcomed home.

The aircraft has been delivered within an extraordinary ten months of the government ordering them. CAF thanked everyone in Australia, the US and UK who made that possible.

“Everyone around the world has united in air lift camaraderie to help us get this capability in,” AIRMSHL Shepherd said. “Well done to all of you on the team.”

“I am honoured to be present at the maiden flight into Australia of the first C-17,” the Prime Minister said.

“It is important we have the capacity to move our personnel and equipment into other parts of the world and across Australia, when and where we need them.

“As well as enhancing the responsiveness of our Defence Force, our C-17s will increase Australia’s independence. We will no longer need to rely on leasing ageing Antonov aircraft, or wait in queues for American heavy airlift.”

Dr. Nelson said the “C17 offers a capability that will allow the Air Force to provide Responsive Global Airlift in support of Australia’s national interests and to provide assistance to other nations in the wake of catastrophic natural disasters, such as those experienced last year in the Asian tsunami and the earthquake in Pakistan.”

Two days later, after a series of farewell laps over Canberra, A41-206 headed north to its new home, Amberley. There, a crowd of VIPS, base personnel and media watched as the big jet taxied through clouds of red smoke in lieu of the traditional fire hose spray and a 38SQN Caribou circled overhead.

Commander Air Lift Group, Air Commodore Glen Steed, let the local Ipswich community know what they were in for.

“We now have a truly global response aircraft,” he said. “We can support the ADF anywhere in the world, in rapid time.”

Amberley Base Commander Wing Commander John Martin praised 82WG, 6SQN and 382ECSS, who have given up space to provide temporary accommodation for 36SQN.

“The base has been working very hard to work out how we’ll meet the demands of this beast,” he said. “We’ve now got a new lodger and a new layer of demands, particularly in the Air Movements area with cargo and passenger handling. There isn’t one service provider on the base that won’t be effected by 36SQN being here.”

One airman took a very different view of the future as he heard of the long range, Trans-Pacific capability for squadrons deploying to the United States.

“This means a big change to Air Force culture and tradition – what about stop overs in Pago Pago and Honolulu?” he said.



Top of side bar