Home' Navy News : December 8th 2011 Contents December 8, 2011
817 Squadron and Sea Kings decommission
ngs have served their community
ll and done a lot of good service.
y, s a bit sad that they've got to go, but
all good things come to an end.
-- LSATV Tom Giddings, 817 SQN
Thhe Sea Kin
O viously, it's
Memory lives on
Broadhurst leads fresh approach to maintenance
A SENSE of accomplishment fills
LSATV David Broadhurst whenever
he watches the Sea Kings take off,
knowing that his job of providing
serviceable aircraft is done.
But on December 15, when the
Sea Kings take off on their final flight
from 817 SQN at HMAS Albatross,
Nowra, the maintainer will also expe-
rience a sense of sadness.
"It's going to be a sad moment. I
love the squadron and I'm a bit disap-
pointed that it has to decommission.
But, as they say, all good things have
to come to an end," he said.
LSATV Broadhurst is among a
diminishing maintenance team which
has been keeping the remaining four
Sea Kings in service.
Having all ready for the farewell
flight -- taking in Sydney and Canberra
before returning to Nowra -- would
be a great achievement for those who
work behind the scenes in the squad-
"It's difficult to get all the aircraft
serviceable at the same time, because
THE saddest moment of 817
Squadron's history will be
remembered with a refur-
bished memorial to the four
Navy airmen killed in the Nias trag-
edy on April 2, 2005.
A new centerpiece is being
designed at the memorial for 817 SQN
personnel LEUTs Matthew Goodall,
Paul Kimlin, Jonathan King and LS
Scott Bennet, who were killed while
delivering humanitarian assistance at
Nias island in Indonesia after the dev-
astating 2004 Boxing Day tsunami.
The aircrew were among nine
personnel, including two other Navy
members, who died when Shark 02
crashed about 4pm local time while it
made an approach to land on a soccer
field on the island.
Rod King, father of LEUT King,
said it was even more important to the
families to complete the memorial now
that 817 SQN was being disbanded
with the phasing out of the Sea Kings.
"It was their loved ones sons' and
husbands' career -- the [crew] were
there in 817 SQN because they wanted
to be," Mr King said.
"Our boy, Jonathan, if he was alive
today that's where he'd still be -- no
question. He didn't want to go any-
where else, he just loved the squad-
A new water feature will replace
the original Wollemi Pine that was
gifted to Mr King to plant as a memo-
rial after the tragedy.
Two successive pine trees have
been planted at the memorial but they
have struggled to survive the coastal
climate at Nowra.
Mr King said the Navy had been
"positive and wonderful" and discus-
sion for expanding the link between
the chapel and the memorial had been
"That would involve taking a sec-
tion of brickwork from the side of the
chapel and we would have a paved
courtyard and a ramp between the
chapel and the memorial," he said.
The permanent display of Sea King
Shark 07 at the Fleet Air Arm Museum
would form an honour to the nine peo-
ple who died in the Nias crash.
Defence Materiel Minister Jason
Clare announced the decision on June
8 this year that Shark 07 was selected
because it had the most operational
history of all the Sea King helicopters.
"Shark 07 will be a permanent
memorial to the seven young men and
two young women we lost that day,"
Mr Clare said.
It was also a personal quest from
Ray Kimlin, father of LEUT Kimlin,
who had lobbied for a Sea King to be
preserved at Nowra since 2004.
Shark 07 was the Sea King that
LEUT Kimlin had flown in the Gulf
War with the present Commanding
Officer, CMDR Paul Moggach.
THE pain of losing four of
their mates in the tragedy
that was the crash of Shark
02 on Nias Island, Indonesia,
in 2005, never goes away for
those at 817 SQN.
For Commanding Officer
CMDR Paul Moggach, who was
Executive Officer at the time,
the incident remains the most
disturbing moment of his career.
"It was incredibly shocking
and distressing for everyone
here at the squadron. I hope no-
one ever has to go through that
again," he said.
Flight Instructor LCDR
Tanzi Lea said the crash devas-
tated the tight-knit squadron.
"We all took a look at our-
selves to see whether we wanted
to continue flying. I suppose it's
a case of there but for the grace
of God we go," he said.
Out of the tragedy came a
much-needed cultural shake up.
An inquiry into the incident
found poor maintenance prac-
tises as a culprit.
"We were in a cultural
malaise that had its roots laid
years earlier. The cultural prob-
lems went right through the
ADF," CMDR Moggach said.
"Our quality maintenance
has really led the way since.
We're far better at detecting
problems than we were five
years ago and our aviation
safety culture is now one of the
finest in the ADF."
The squadron's four
lost aircrew from the
2005 crash will forever
By GRAHAM McBEAN
SAD MOMENT: Australian and
Indonesian personnel carry the
coffins to the waiting Hercules.
LS Scott Bennet
LEUT Matthew Goodall
LEUT Paul Kimlin
LEUT Jonathan King
PROUD AS PUNCH: LSATV David Broadhurst in the
hanger at 817 SQN.
Photo: LSIS Paul Berry
UPGRADE PLANNED: A
water feature will replace
the pine in the memo-
rial at 817 SQN, at HMAS
servicing doesn't always match up,"
"They're always going through
preventative routine and special servic-
ings. When you get to get to a point
where you see the aircraft flying off
the runway, that's a really good feel-
ing," he said.
"Earlier this year
we saw five aircraft
up in the air at once.
That was an amazing
Although the work
of the maintainers
goes unnoticed in
the public eye, it has
remained central to the
effective running the
supervises his team's
tises, has witnessed
immense change at
817 SQN since he
began there in 2006.
Fresh from 18 months of aviation
training in Wagga Wagga, he arrived at
Albatross looking to carve out a career
It was a time when maintenance
procedures were undergoing an over-
haul in response to an inquiry into the
fatal crash of Shark 02 in 2005.
The inquiry had found the accident
was a result of a failure of the helicop-
ter's flight control system, in which
a component had not been properly
secured during maintenance.
LSATV Broadhurst said the cul-
tural and organisational changes had
greatly improved aviation safety.
"In particular, people are bred dif-
ferently these days. The attitude used
to be 'we've always done it this way,
and this is the way we will continue to
do it'," he said.
"But with new trainees coming
through, there's been an opportunity
to change how people conduct their
Following the final flight, he will
remain at 817 SQN into the new year
to help preserve one aircraft (Shark
07) -- to be given to the Air Fleet Arm
Museum at Nowra -- and prepare the
remaining ones for re-sale.
Like many 817 maintainers, he
will move to 808 SQN to work on its
"When I first got to 817, morale
was quite low. But they were doing
their best to make things right. It was
a bit difficult coming into such an
environment in which the squadron
was coming out of a major incident,"
"But over the years, as everything
has progressed, the squadron has really
turned on a good show. We've done
some amazing things."
Bidding farewell to the Sea Kings
will be like bringing a special relation-
ship to an end.
LSATV Broadhurst said that
relationship had not always been
smooth, especially when the Sea Kings
returned from sea with enough "unser-
viceabilities" to keep the maintainers
busy. But there is also plenty of affec-
tion for the Sea Kings.
"Because we don't have a large
contingent of aircraft, we actually have
a deep affiliation and love for each and
every one of them," he said.
-- Simon Gladman
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