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Christchurch Man in Search for Flight MH370

Royal New Zealand Air Force (RNZAF) Air Warfare Specialist, Flight Sergeant Simon Martelli, operates the radar and electro optics camera of the P-3K2 Orion during the search for flight MH370
Royal New Zealand Air Force (RNZAF) Air Warfare Specialist, Flight Sergeant Simon Martelli, operates the radar and electro optics camera of the P-3K2 Orion during the search for flight MH370

28 March 2014

Air Warfare Specialist Flight Sergeant (F/S) Simon Martelli is part of the dedicated crew on the Royal New Zealand Air Force (RNZAF) P-3K2 Orion searching for missing flight MH370.

Born and raised in Christchurch, F/S Martelli, aka ‘Marmite’, is based at Whenuapai Air Base as an Air Warfare specialist with Number 5 Squadron, operating the radar and electro-optics camera of the P-3K2. His job as sensor operator is highly specialised involving the use of radar, video cameras and acoustic equipment to help detect objects of interest.

“Over the years I have been part of a number of search and rescue missions but the search for MH370 is by far the largest,” said F/S Martelli.

After 12 years learning how to find warships, identify submarines and locate enemy aircraft, F/S Martelli’s expert skills are invaluable in a search of this kind.

“I’m regularly on standby for Search and Rescue operations which means being able to get to the aircraft within 30 minutes of a call out,” he said.

The families and friends of those onboard MH370 are constantly in our thoughts, it gives us motivation to do our very best every time we go out to search.”

The father of two admits the travel means long periods away from home, but says family support and communication channels such as Skype mean the world has become far smaller.

The former St Bede’s student studies university papers extramurally to build on his extensive military background, which includes a 10-week deployment to the Middle East in 2003.

“My job has taken me to a fair portion of the world, which was one of the reasons I joined the Air Force. It gave me options other than university when I left school, it was a training career and job straight away, F/S Martelli said.”

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