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Aerospace explores workhorses of sky

​Our enthusiastic Aerospace teacher, Mr Nathan Maag, noticed some unusual activity taking place at Oakey’s Aviation Museum recently. Five Caribou aircraft were being partially disassembled on site in preparation for disbursement to locations around the country.
At the end of exam week, six of our keenest Year 11 students visited the local aviation museum for a tour of the complex.
The highlight of the visit was the opportunity to inspect the Caribous, and gain an understanding of the mechanics and function of these flying machines.
They also heard some of the exploits of these robust workhorses of the air during their faithful service in the Australian Defence Forces from 1964 to 2009.
The aircraft’s short take off in less than 250 metres, and similar landing distance in rough terrain and hastily constructed airfields,  made the Caribou a valuable transportation vehicle for personnel, vehicles, and aid supplies in times of natural disasters. Capable of carrying 32 fully armed troops, 22 stretcher cases or 2 Land Rovers (Jeeps) or up to 4 tonnes of supplies and munitions, the Caribou served our ADF well. A large rear access ramp facilitated efficient loading and unloading, and could be opened in flight to allow paratroopers to jump out, or for cargo to be dropped with parachutes.
Whilst the Caribou’s short take off and landing capabilities were highly valued, it was quite a slow aircraft and the running joke amongst past crewmen was that it was frequently ‘attacked’ and overtaken by ducks, geese and other birds in flight.
Our students’ timely visit was further enhanced by the opportunity to meet Army engineering and mechanical staff who were preparing the aircraft for their new role as museum exhibits. These servicemen shared insights of aircraft design and flight with the Aerospace students, and some specific information about the Caribou, which were designed and built by de Havilland in Canada.
“The visit was a wonderful opportunity for our Aerospace students to gain firsthand understanding of aerodynamics, and an appreciation of the Caribou craft in particular,” Mr Maag reported.
“We are most appreciative of the sharing of information and time by Mr Peter Williams, Flight Lieutenant Matthew Eaton, and Flight Officer Sanjay Vinoharan. Our students gained valuable insight into flight and aircraft design as they toured the aircraft with experts in the field”, Mr Maag added.