By 1Lt. Javier Donesteve
First published in
SFOR Informer#105, January 24, 2001
The Army Air Corps (AAC) is the branch of the British Army in
charge of giving, along with the Royal Air Force, aviation support
to land operations. For this, it counts on six Regiments and some
independent Squadrons, equipped with different types of helicopters.
contribution of the AAC to SFOR was the UK Helicopter Force,
based in Divulje Barracks, Split. But, since a Dutch Unit has
taken took there, only a small Detachment of two Lynx Mk 9 helicopters
and thirty men remains in Bosnia, most of them from 661 Squadron,
1 Regiment AAC, based in Gutersloh, Germany.
primary role is supporting DCOMOPS (Deputy Commander for Operations,
the Senior British Officer, currently Maj. Gen. Richard Dannatt)"
says Capt. Gordon Best, Officer Commanding, UK Lynx Det. "For
that reason we moved to Sarajevo. It saves time and money. And,
as it was not possible to move to Butmir, the Airport was the
move was a a major effort for such a small unit like ours. With
only the support of vehicles, we did the rest. We brought everything,
from the Rubb Hangar to the smallest tool. And meanwhile, we have
been operational, what means having at least one aircraft ready
for flight" stressed Best. "An added difficulty was
that the allocated area in Sarajevo Airport was mined"
Lynx has a crew of three, two pilots and the door gunner"
says Warrant Officer 2 Steve Gerhold, Squadron Sergeant Major.
"We've got five pilots, Captain, WO1 and three Sergeants,
and about 18 other AAC posts, and 12 REME (Royal Electrical and
Mechanical Engineers) guys".
Staff Sergeant Gordon McBain is holding a meeting with his deputy
Sergeant Jonathan Dobbin, and Sergeant Russell Mills, Crew Chief.
"We've got nine technicians in our team. Among them, two
female Craftsmen. And, of course, they do their job as well as
the rest," said McBain. The Craftsmen are working on a Lynx.
are many items to be checked,", said Mills. Some items
every three hours of flying, others every ten, twenty five or
fifty. Everything must be written in the Aircraft Log Book".
The Air Troopers are pushing a five ton aircraft out of the hangar.
A training flight is going to take place. Warrant Officer 1 Mark
Curry, a Qualified Helicopter Instructor, is the Captain. It is
"Rain is not a problem for us. Fog and ice could be, but
rain is not". Meanwhile the engine warms up, WO1 Curry asks
for permission to take off, and the door gunner gives a last look
at his equipment. A few minutes later, the aircraft takes off,
followed by the careful eyes of the ground crew. Just another
Nations of SFOR: UK