From the runway to the sky

Corporal Christopher Meldrum finds fixing an aircraft one of the most rewarding parts of being an aircraft technician in the RAAF.

CAPTION: Corporal Christopher Meldrum, an avionics technician from 33 Squadron, during Exercise Talisman Sabre 23 at RAAF Base Darwin. Story and photo by Leading Aircraftman Chris Tsakisiris.

Posted to 33 Squadron, he is responsible for conducting and overseeing maintenance of the KC-30A Multi-Role Tanker Transport aircraft and recently deployed to RAAF Base Darwin for Exercise Talisman Sabre.

The duties of an aircraft technician are crucial to the RAAF’s operational effectiveness.

The trade performs the important role of making sure all aircraft systems and components satisfy RAAF airworthiness requirements.

“We oversee the arrival and departure of aircraft for their allocated missions,” Corporal Meldrum said.

“We identify and rectify any aircraft faults or deficiencies, enabling the aircraft to get back out in the sky.”

Growing up in Newcastle, Corporal Meldrum joined the RAAF in 2009 and started his technician career at 3 Squadron, before moving to 2 Operational Conversion Unit from 2016 to 2019.

Deployed to the Top End on Exercise Talisman Sabre, Corporal Meldrum was part of the Air Task Group in northern Australia that tested Air Force’s ability to sustain high-intensity air operations.

The dry season is one of the best times to conduct exercises in the Northern Territory.

“Darwin weather is very warm and the sunsets are spectacular,” Corporal Meldrum said.

Located at RAAF Base Amberley, 33 Squadron and the KC-30A provide a force multiplier to air operations providing air-to-air refuelling for different aircraft types, along with passenger and cargo transport during domestic and international missions.

“The role of 33 Squadron, at Talisman Sabre 23, is to safely and sustainably deliver air-to-air refuelling capability to various receiver aircraft as well as providing cargo and passenger transport within the area of operations,” Corporal Meldrum said.

“We have to be very flexible with a variety of different tasks to ensure the aircraft is ready for the next mission.”


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