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NZDF helicopter drops in on school

The Kaman Seasprite SH-2G(I) helicopter from the Air Force’s 6 Squadron at Cashmere Avenue School in Khandallah, Wellington.
The Kaman Seasprite SH-2G(I) helicopter from the Air Force’s 6 Squadron at Cashmere Avenue School in Khandallah, Wellington.

23 September 2016

What could possibly make the last day of term better than your mother arriving at your school playground in a New Zealand Defence Force helicopter?

A Kaman Seasprite SH-2G(I) helicopter from the Air Force’s 6 Squadron touched down at Cashmere Avenue School in Khandallah, Wellington, on Friday morning,as a last-day-of-term treat for excited children and teachers.

The helicopter was on its way back to Auckland after participating in Exercise Bluebird in the South Island.

On the Seasprite was observer Lieutenant Commander (LTCDR) Juliet MacLean, whose two children, India, 7 and Jacob, 9, attend the school.

LT CDR MacLean and the crew stayed for a question-and-answer session with the pupils, who were allowed to see the helicopter close up, before the helicopter departed to repeat the performance at Karori Normal School.

She told the pupils she had joined the Navy in 1998, in England, and had flown from ships in the Gulf.

“We haven’t brought missiles to school,” she told one hopeful Cashmere pupil. “We might get told off.”

Another student asked: “Can you land on water?”

“No, if you land on water you are having a bad day,” she said.

Acting Principal Phil Rodley said the visit had been set up about a month ago.

“It’s very, very cool, and a good way to finish the term,” he said.

“We didn’t want to tell the children too much, but the rumours went around. There were a lot very excited children – and teachers.”

India and Jacob said the best thing about having a helicopter landing at their school, apart from their mother on board, was being able to ask questions and being able to see inside the helicopter.

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