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Navy choppers on their way to Childers

The Royal Australian Navys MH-60R Romeo helicopter conducts functional testing of the newly fitted Airborne Low Frequency Sonar System (ALFS) off the coast of Jacksonville, Florida.
The Royal Australian Navys MH-60R Romeo helicopter conducts functional testing of the newly fitted Airborne Low Frequency Sonar System (ALFS) off the coast of Jacksonville, Florida. LS Eammon O'Brien

ARE they birds? Are they planes? No they're two of Australia's deadliest helicopters and they're set to grace the skies above Childers.

Two navy Sikorsky MH-60R helicopters are scheduled to land at the Childers Airstrip a few kilometres south of Childers on Saturday morning.

But don't be alarmed - the duo will just be carrying out naval exercises.

The next generation submarine hunter and anti-surface warfare helicopters will form an important part of naval operations for years to come.

Commander of one of the helicopters, Lieutenant Alan Dickenson, said the Sikorskys were participating in a navigational exercise and were invited to land at the Childers Airstrip.

"My father lives in Childers and is a member of the local aero club,” he said.

"They are holding a 'fly in' on Saturday and fortunately it coincided with our trip to the region.

"We anticipate arriving sometime between 11.15am and 11.30am.”

Lt Dickenson said appropriate safety measures would be in place to ensure spectators did not impinge on the required landing area.

Bundaberg Regional Council divisional representative Bill Trevor said while spectators would be invited for a close look at the helicopters, it was not possible to allow anyone other than aircraft personnel inside the helicopter.

"However, I'm certain anyone who comes along will be impressed with these aircraft,” Cr Trevor said.

"It's unusual to have them land-based as they are essentially a maritime operational aircraft.”

The Sikorsky Multi Mission Helicopter weighs in at around 10 tonnes.

Cr Trevor said the plan was to land and shut down the helicopters for about an hour before they resumed their navigational training exercise.

The Childers Airstrip is signposted off the Bruce Hwy less than 10 minutes south of Childers.

Topics:  bill trevor bundaberg childers lt alan dickenson navy sikorsky mh-60r helicopters



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