Sunday, June 27, 2010

Alouette III Aircrew Conversion Course No 1 / 1977

The Five Converters

Photo from left to right: Sgt(U) Mohd Ismail (self), Sgt(U) Mohd Daud Yusof, 
Sgt(U) Azizan Mat Saman, Sgt(U) Gan Eng Keong, and Sgt(U) Mohd Jais. 

We had guessed after the "Gubir Incident" on 26 April 1976, thats what brought the five of us here, at the No3 Sqn.RMAF Base Butterworth, the home of helicopter squadron and combat gunships. It was April 24, 1977 when we were done with our medical check-up and nobody knew about the Airforce intentionally planed to have courses for aircrews to be as "Combat Helicopter Gunners" specially tasked to supressed communist terrorist gaining momentum along the Malaysian/Thailand borders. In early June,1977 after attending No 1/77 Basic AQM Course at the Helicopter Flying Training School(F.T.S) RMAF Kuala Lumpur, we then finally reported at the No3 Squadron Aircrew Training Wing. We trained hard each day with the guidance from the instructors like Capt(U) Raja Mohd, Flt.Sgt Tharma Singh, Flt.Sgt Isa and a few to name and somehow or rather managed to get through with the ground school subjects, and the flying phase, successfully. 

The ground school subjects:
  1. Theory and Principle of Flight.
  2. Mathematics eg. weight & balance etc.
  3. Metereology.
  4. Aircraft on type, engine,airframe,radio & intruments.
  5. Maps and navigation.
  6. General duties.
The Alouette III helicopter multy-roles flying phase subjects:
  1. Alouette III aircrew duties such as - winching and underslung operator.
  2. Military/Non-Military Communication Flight such as - VVIP/VIP, non VVIP flights, flying doctor services, and etc.
  3. Forward Airborne Control (FAC) eg. fighter aircraft/artillery strikes in forward locations.
  4. Search and rescue (SAR).
  5. Reconnaissance.
  6. Voice broadcasting and Leaflet drop.
  7. Medivac / Bodyvac / Casevac.
  8. Floatation Role.
  9. Aerial Photography.
  10. Gunship Role.
* The RMAF offer courses in Aircrew/Air Gunner, Air Quarter Master(AQM), Load Master and Flight Engineers.The aircrew candidate's eligibility for this unique courses are as follows:
1. You must attained the rank of Corporal(Cpl) in the Airforce.
2. Passed your medical check-up.
3. Experience, and knowledgeable on other subject matters would be an advantage.

That was during my flying era days, thirty three years ago and let me say something, its unique being an Alouette III helicopter crewman. Out there above the clouds somewhere, and you are not alone. Sometime you are a co-pilot under supervision, navigator, flight engineer, hoist and underslung operator, medic, flight attendant, observer and air-gunner.The helicopter of many roles with the capability to scare the enemy when transform into a combat gunship. Whats such a unique and challenging  career to have, and I have dedicately served almost ten years of my service as a stand-alone Alouette III helicopter crewman with 1300 hours logged. Would have clocked more hours if were not for the sake of my intelligence duties held from 1983 to 1990.


After two years of my retirement, the Alouette IIIs  has finally made its way for the establishment of PUTD (Pasukan Udara Tentera Darat or Malaysian Army Aviation) on 1st July, 1994 which was under the project team director, Kol(U) Stephen Ngiau Tai Kong of the RMAF (former OC No.3 Sqn) and later handed over Kluang Air Base to PUTD in January,1996. The PUTD was declared operational on 29 March,1997 with its new wing named 881 Squadron stationed at Kluang Air Base, in turn setting a new path towards Malaysian Army Aviation history.


Nor Ibrahim Bin Sulaiman said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Mohd Ismail Bin Mohd Hashim said...
This comment has been removed by the author.