A transportable air-operations tower deployed at short notice to Bairnsdale in early January has proven invaluable to humanitarian-aid flights in Gippsland.
CAPTION: A Royal Australian Air Force transportable air-operations tower operated by 44WG during Operation Bushfire Assist 19-20 at Bairnsdale Airport. Photo by Chris Loadsman. Story by Pilot Officer Brent Moloney. Edited by CONTACT.
RELATED STORIES: Operation Bushfire Assist 19-20
Flight Lieutenant Ben Young’s team was deployed to the transportable air-operations tower at Bairnsdale Airport at short notice after the Australian Defence Force was called to support Victorian State Emergency Services to fight bushfires and the provide community aid.
Flight Lieutenant Young works with a small team of air traffic controllers from No. 44 Wing, to provide an airfield flight information service for civilian and military aircraft.
“We’re making sure their situational awareness coming in and out of the aerodrome is safe and efficient, because it has been getting quite busy now with the increased effort,” Flight Lieutenant Young said.
“It’s a great feeling to come and actually do what we train for.
“Day-to-day air traffic services is our job, but the reason why we wear the uniform is to get out here and help when Defence is called upon.”
Significant fluctuations in weather had an adverse affect on flying conditions across much of the affected area last week, making the transportable air-operations tower a critical component for the continuance of emergency air operations in Gippsland.