Recently I had the opportunity to take part in the Australian Defence Forces Work Experience Program for 2002. I chose to go to RAAF Richmond because I hope to join the RAAF when I finish school and thought that doing work experience there might give me a better idea of what it would be like to work in the Australian Defence Force.I recommend anyone who is at all thinking about joining the Australian Defence Force to get in early and put your name down for Work Experience on a base!
Some of the things that we go to do on base for the week included having a walk through the C-130 H and the new C-130 J Hercules. We were able to go up to the cockpit and have a look at the new HUD and MFD‘s on the C-130J. The MFD‘s (Multi-function Displays) are really cool and have a moving map display relative to where the plane is located.
We got to see some of the techo’s working in their various professions. It isn’t all just working on aircraft and components – one person was fixing a BBQ , another was making a shower!
One of the highlights of the week was the opportunity to fly in the C-130H simulator. Not many people in my group could land the Hercules – although I did! We also got to speak to the pilots who were on base about the requirements we needed from school, how we should apply and other tips.
We also met the Airfield Defence Guards or “Adgies” as they are known on the base! Yes we even got to see their armoury, they’re armed to the teeth!! We went down to the rifle range and saw people going for their 1/2 yearly qualifications on the F-88 Steyr AUG or ‘Plastic Gun’.
There is a fire station on base for emergencies and we had the opportunity to see what the firefighters do all day – play Ping-pong in the garage of the fire station!
In the mechanical service areas we checked out many sorts of vehicles and saw most of them being stripped down to be repaired or maintained. We were treated to some spectacular landings from foreign planes such as a C-17 Globemaster landing daily throughout the week. They have come to know it as ‘Mighty Mouse’! Also there were some modified C-130 aircraft from the US and a Singaporean C-130 there as well.
There were visits to the SecPol which is the Military Police with the dog squad there as well. To the only Army squadron on the base which is the parachute wing of the army which packs and straps parachutes in pallets and themselves then chuck it out the back of a Herc! We got to see a couple of the parachute drops as well.
Overall the week was well beneficial and a great learning experience about life in the Royal Australian Air Force. It was a great learning experience for myself and the other five people that were in my group.
(If you are interested in doing work experience with the ADF, its best to get your name down early. Information packs are sent to all high school careers advisers so speak to your adviser early in the year, or call the ADF Recruiting (13 19 01) if they don’t have the information)
About the Author
Joel Mortimer was a member of City of Blacktown Squadron, NSW Boys Group. Since writing this article he has joined the RAAF as an Officer Cadet at the Australian Defence Force Academy and hopes to graduate as a pilot.