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NZDF Aircraft Technician Pitching in During Exercise Skytrain

Corporal Matt Lines inspects a C-130 Hercules aircraft during Exercise Skytrain at Napier airport this week.
Corporal Matt Lines inspects a C-130 Hercules aircraft during Exercise Skytrain at Napier airport this week.

28 January 2016

For Scottish-born Aircraft Technician Corporal (CPL) Matt Lines, travel has always been part of his life, so joining the Royal New Zealand Air Force (RNZAF) seemed a natural move.

After moving to New Zealand when he was three, CPL Lines grew up in Whakatane and finished school there. While taking a gap year, some of Matt's friends were telling him about their new careers in the RNZAF. 

"It sounded pretty cool, so I was keen to follow them," said CPL Lines. Joining six years ago, he has found himself going all over the world with 40 Squadron, including a United States exchange tour to Antarctica.  

Currently, CPL Lines is involved in the latest RNZAF exercise, Skytrain,  which is taking place in Hawke’s Bay Napier over 18-28 January. 

Although he has been on other major exercises such as Talisman Sabre, Skytrain in Napier has been his first experience in a tented camp.  He has been impressed at the set-up and general level of organisation, as well as being able to have time to enjoy some swimming around the local area.

Skytrain focuses on contingency training for situations where supplies must be accurately dropped by crews into disaster zones where planes are unable to land.

This skill is vital in areas where there either there is no airstrip, or it is too dangerous to land, including:

  • Combat zones in Afghanistan
  • In Antarctica when a Russian vessel became stranded and the RNZAF dropped essential supplies onto the ice for the crew 
  • The regular resupply air drops to Raoul Island.

About 180 personnel have set up camp in Napier for the training. Over the course of the exercise, the deployment is conducting up to four sorties per day, with drop zones spanning the greater Hawke’s Bay region.

ENDS

For further information, please contact Defence Public Affairs on 021 487 980

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