Helicopter Havoc World Cup-Related

Posted by on Jun 09, 2011 | 7 Comments

With the Queen attending the RWC, the Navy were practicing their corgi-walking skills

With the Queen attending the RWC, the Navy were practicing their corgi-walking skills

Devonport residents might have been forgiven for thinking NATO helicopters had become disorientated over Libya and ended up buzzing Devonport last  night.

The activity was  part of a Tri-service exercise activity involving Army, RNZAF 3 SQN (UH1H) and Navy and is linked with preparations for Rugby World Cup. This activity was directed/coordinated from HQ Joint Forces NZ as part of the wider preparations and support the Defence Force has been tasked to do for the Rugby World Cup.

The Navy’s spokesman Commander John Crighton said “This was not simply a case of Navy deciding to buzz our neighbours with (helicopters). There are also a number of factors at hand as to why this involved both day and night operations, and also why it was held in Auckland rather than a more remote location that would bother no-one other than a few sheep.”

The exercise started at 1pm and continued until 8.30, and involved at least two large choppers flying in continuous circles over Ngataringa Bay. One local resident said “I have to say, while I support our dudes in uniform, this protracted display ended up becoming a somewhat scary, migraine inducing event for those of us who live nearby” and added……”did you know those big rotors pounding within 50 metres of your house actually do give one a migraine, plus a painful ear ache?”

By 7pm, some residents had had enough and rang the Navy to complain, only to “have the phone slammed down in my ear before I could say more than ‘Hello’….I tried again….and again…and again, with exactly the same result.”

Evidently this happened to a multitude of people, and this morning the resident was told by the very amiable and apologetic Lt Campbell (Navy PR) that ‘disciplinary action will follow‘.

7 comments

  1. Lynn Lawton says:

    The Navy has declared it wants to be a good community member. Its failure to notify us residents, either not answering the phone on one occasion and hanging up on the other does nothing to demonstrate its community concern. I called the air force which at least answered and provided me with an explanation.
    Even the recently delivered navy letter from Fred made no mention of this. Poor communication and community responsibility.

  2. al says:

    I actually don’t think too many neighbours would have been upset if a simple leaflet outlining what was going to happen, how long for, and why, was left in our letter box – or via FlagStaff and Speculator. But poor Navy pre-planning and appalling customer relationship during and after…

  3. JL says:

    I agree with ES. Even though we support the need for our forces to prepare for big events, after the 1st 5 hours or so it was ghastly for those of us who live close by…. just deafening! Also, civil aviation guidelines were not adhered to, with choppers as low as 20 metres above our homes.
    Then there were the phone hang-ups, because the line certainly wasn’t out of order! I got through a number of times and could hear activity & voices in the quartermaster’s office before the phone was slammed down……Very discourteous.

  4. JDD says:

    It would have been good to have been forewarned. Apart from the fact the vibrations rattled the (glass) sliding cupboard doors, I was imagining armed robbers on the run being chased.

  5. Ann says:

    Thanks for following this up for us.

  6. E.S. says:

    B ,above, obviously doesn’t live near the Navy Sports fields! The noise was horrendous and would have exceeded the decibel limit permitted by council regulations, especially for that duration. And all that for the Rugby world cup! Also, I was told by a Navy spokesperson that the phones were out of order. Nothing about ‘disciplinary action’!

  7. B says:

    I think its rather fun being in the middle of all the activity! If something were ever to go seriously wrong we would be counting on the armed forces and the hours of training that they put in!

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