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Haltec Enterprises' Director - Ross Halgren served in the Royal Australian Air Force as the Radio Officer for No 486 Maintenance Squadron at the RAAF Richmond Air Base from 1977 - 1978. This period of service was in return for a one-year cadetship with the RAAF awarded in his final year of Engineering at Sydney University. Half of 1977 was spent on RAAF training courses, including Officer training, Engineering Basic training and Radio familiarisation. One of the most memorable and rewarding experiences in the RAAF was the periodic times spent as flight line manager working the 4pm to dawn shift. This was a position of responsibilty for getting the scheduled C130 Hercules aircraft serviceable and ready for deployment the next day. It required the ability to manage all aircraft trades - not just the radio trades. In one case, lateral thinking of the mechanical kind, saved an 8 hour engine change and associated late-night engine run which was always frowned upon by the residents of Richmond-Windsor.

Richmond Base
C130-E & 486 Hangar
C130 Engine Maintenance
C130 Flight Deck
Medevac Intercom

There were 36 x C130 Hercules that 486 Squadron was responsible for maintaining, including 12 of each model (A, E & H) plus the C130 Simulators with hydraulically controlled 3D motion simulation - which were always great to fly when the opportunity arose. In addition to the day to day task of managing 50 radio technicians, the job also entailed training the technicians on the new "digital and solid-state electronics" technologies employed on the 12 new H-model Hercules delivered to the RAAF in 1978. There were of course the usual secondary duties characteristic of the Defence Forces, such as Squadron Newsletter Editor and wherever possible, the opportunity was taken to gain operational experience such as going on Para-drops and Search & Rescue missions.

Engineering design experience included the specification, design and prototype development of a Medevac Intercom system for the RAAF doctors and nurses to use during a medical evacuation via C130 transport aircraft. The Medevac Intercom system was designed to overcome the difficulty that the medical staff had in communicating against the loud background noise of the four C130 turbo-prop engines - given that sound insulation was very poor compared to a commercial airliner for example. A photo of the Medevac Intercom system is included in the above sample of RAAF photos. Almost 20 year later, Ross's R&D team at AWA Defence Industries delivered the fibre-optic backbone for a much more modern Intercom System developed by Telephonics in New York for various military aircraft. Unfortunately the RAAF has not yet procured any new aircraft with this Australian fibre-optic technology installed.

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