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
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
"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.