Rod Petty
161 (Independent) Reconnaissance Flight - Army Aviation
Nui Dat
Oct 1970 - Aug 1971

My daily duties were maintaining the flight instruments of the Bell 47 helicopter, Cessna 180 and later, the Pilatus Porter planes, which replaced the Cessnas. An ordinary day could start with a check of all aircraft for possible tampering during the night. We would then progress to first-light pre-flights and checks on fuel status. If accepted, I would accompany a pilot on a ‘first-light’ recce, looking for any enemy movement or build-up in surrounding areas overnight. A lot of the time, the recce flights were done at the tree-top level; we often had to remove tree branches from the skids of these great little bubble choppers. After, we’d head back to the workshop to carry out repairs and routine maintenance. We had to occupy our spare time. We built a go-kart and used to compete against the Bell 47 guys in straight runs up and down the Luscombe field airstrip – good training for the pilot for low-level flying.

Service No. 3797529