Flight tragedy spur for Invercargill pilot

Flight Lieutenant Dave Smith carries out a pre-flight check at RNZAF Base Auckland at Whenuapai. Photo courtesy of CPL Janine Fabre of ADF
Flight Lieutenant Dave Smith carries out a pre-flight check at RNZAF Base Auckland at Whenuapai. Photo courtesy of CPL Janine Fabre of ADF
An Air Force pilot involved the search for Malaysian Airlines flight MH370 says the thought of affected family and friends is high motivation for those looking for the miising aircraft.

Flight Lieutenant Dave Smith is one of the Royal New Zealand Air Force P-3K2 Orion crew taking part in the search in a remote area of the southern Indian Ocean.

The search, in an area bigger than New Zealand, is one of the largest the RNZAF has ever been involved in.

Born and raised in Invercargill, FltLt Smith is based with No. 5 Squadron at RNZAF Base Auckland at Whenuapai.

"We are constantly thinking of the families and friends affected by the tragedy of MH370, it gives us the motivation to do our very best every time we search," he said.

FLTLT Smith has previously been involved in dramatic searches; the search for Amaltal Columbia, a large fishing vessel that caught fire off the coast of Christchurch, and the Windigo, a yacht that capsized 1260km northwest of New Zealand.

"I have been involved in a number of challenging search and rescue missions, it's a pretty satisfying job,'' he said.

"We carry out maritime surveillance and reconnaissance, Exclusive Economic Zone patrols, and anti-submarine and surface unit warfare, but we are probably best known to the public for our search and rescue work,"he said.

No. 5 Squadron maintains an Orion aircraft at two hours' readiness to get airborne, with twelve aircrew and eight maintenance personnel on standby 24/7, every day of the year.

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