Exercise fuels learning

No. 33 Squadron air mobility officer Flying Officer William Delchau said Exercise Talisman Sabre was an invaluable opportunity to consolidate his mission aircrew training.

CAPTION: Flying Officer William Delchau, from No. 33 Squadron, supervises an air-to-air refuelling sortie on board a KC-30A multi-role tanker transport aircraft during Exercise Talisman Sabre 2021. Story by Flight Lieutenant Clarice Hurren. Photo by Sergeant Ben Dempster.

The qualified air refuelling officer on the KC-30A multi-role tanker aircraft supported the exercise from RAAF Base Amberley.

“Exercise Talisman Sabre has been a great learning experience,” Flying Officer Delchau said.

“Assisting with mission planning, understanding the tactical air picture and communicating with other squadrons and their crew on different aircraft has been challenging, but rewarding.

“The exercise taught me a lot about operating with foreign military aircraft, their expectations and how a combined air war would be coordinated with dislocated units.

“The role of air mobility officers extends far beyond operating the air-to-air refuelling systems.

“Exercise Talisman Sabre highlighted for us the importance of maintaining situational awareness of the battlespace.”

Flying Officer Delchau, however, agreed the most heart-racing part of his day job was doing a refuel flight – the last few seconds before directing the boom into contact with a receiver aircraft.

“Air refuelling is such a unique and significant capability for Air Force and I’m proud to be part of No. 33 Squadron,” Flying Officer Delchau said.

“If you blink, all of a sudden there could be four jets on our wing and another four checking in to get gas and that takes a lot of coordination.”

Flying Officer Delchau grew up in Canberra and studied aerospace engineering before joining Air Force in 2019.

“Air Force is in my blood,” he said.

“I come from a Defence family – both my dad and younger brother serve, too.”

Imparting words of wisdom for future officer aviation candidates, Flying Officer Delchau said the key was to keep your options open.

“You never know what an unexpected role might be like. I didn’t know air mobility officers existed when I joined, but I couldn’t be happier with the path I’m on,” he said.

“It’s the people that make the job great, and I learn something new every time I go flying.”





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