Search And Rescue Supply Dropping - 1981

In the 1970s and 80s the two major domestic airlines, Trans Australia Airlines (TAA) and Ansett Airlines, had an agreement with DCA and its successors to use Fokker F-27s for Search and Rescue (SAR) duties on an 'as required' basis.

The F-27 was favoured because of its relatively long range and high transit speed, comprehensive navigation and communication equipment for the day, and its ability to operate with the rear door open in flight. Fokkers were also to be found throughout much of Australia every day.

In order to keep both aircrews (supplied by the airlines) and SAR crews (supplied by the Department) up to scratch, regular training excercises were carried out. The photo above shows TAA F-27-6152 Friendship VH-TQO (c/n 10386) at Mangalore, Vic, in 1981 on one such exercise.

The photo below shows the interior of the aircraft, looking aft, with the rear rows of seats removed and the SAR stores stowed. One of the dropmasters is adjusting his safety harness before the sortie. One the aircraft was airborne and nearing the search area (or drop zone), the stores would be positioned in the rear doorway.


Click here to see more photos from this SAREX

(Photos: CAHS collection - top PU-000019-81-71 B; bottom PU-000029-81-71 M)

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