The flying day has arrived, so let another round of excitement begin.
On day three a small patrol trip has been organised for the blue economy interns for a duration time of one hour. Before we boarded the plane the operation member for the day L.Cpl. Stravens briefed us about the procedures which takes place before the aircraft leaves the base and the procedures which takes place after the aircraft has landed back to base. We were told that before the departure a flight authorisation report is done and must be signed by the CO to allow the departure of the flight. A weather report along with an MDO (Mission data overlay) is also prepared, and these reports are sent to the pilot so that he may be aware of the weather changes as well as what can be done if any changes takes place. The ops member (operation member) has to also plan the patrol route which is also handed to the pilot and the first officer. This is a lot of work isn’t it? When onboard the aircraft we did a radio check before the departure with the help of the imagery operator onboard. Everything set, and lift off.
The Air Force is here as the eye who sees from above to spot and identify the different activities that takes place in our waters. This is either to identify vessels who is afloat in our waters both legal and illegally or any vessels who is in distress.
During the fly pass the radar picked up two targets in the area of interest were the patrol was being conducted and the radar operator gave the pilot the coordinates so that we can be able to reach the target. When the target is reached, using the camera we picked up the vessel’s name and registration number. Since it was a clear weather we could identified the number of passengers on the vessel. We learnt that the radar can detect anything from the surface of the sea and some are false targets which can be a group of fish. The amazing part of the flight was when we got the chance to fly over the target at an altitude of 150ft. I felt ready to take a swim. After the hour was completed we head back to base and a mission report was prepared. The most exciting thing about this internship was having a flight on the day of my birthday.
So happy birthday to me from the Dornier crew.