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Apr 20, 2016

B.D.F. Commander Discusses Helicopters

The two helicopters gifted to the B.D.F. by the Government of Taiwan have been assembled and are ready for use. Part of their regular schedule of activities will bring them to this spot at the mouth of the Sarstoon where they will serve a very critical role. Today Brigadier General David Jones explained.

 

Brig. Gen. David Jones, Commander, Belize Defence Force

“Our pilots have to be fully trained before they are personally operating them. So despite the fact that they are assembled, they are flying, we will only have them during training flying around these areas. But the future is for this facility to also be serviced by those helicopters. The area just over to my left is a clearing that is expected to be developed into a helicopter landing site. So that will be an area where the helicopter will be able to land if there is need for immediate evacuation in this area. And it is going to be the same with the rest of the observation posts along the western border; all the helicopter landing sites are going to be cleared so that we can have casualty evacuation or insertion or extraction for operations along the border.”

 

David Jones

Mike Rudon

“Could you speak to us about the range of the helicopters? Will they be able to do that sort of duty?”

 

Brig. Gen. David Jones

“They’ll be able to operate anywhere in the country, in particular along the western border. They are more fuel consumptive in that we’d have to strategically place fuel in different districts so that when they leave Price Barracks, they can go and return without any difficulty; all that has been factored in. So the two places that we may need to have refuel stations will be here in Punta Gorda and also at Camp Belizario in Cayo so that when they launch operation from the battalion that is in Cayo, we have a station at the base and operations here in the south, we have refuel stations here at Fairweather Camp as well. But all that is being planned. We are hoping that training starts either next week or within two weeks or so, but basic training for the parts already started and basic training for the mechanics and crew have already started with the Taiwanese. They’ve been with us over two weeks now so the pilots have been able to play with the controls to see how they operate. One of the pilots has commented to me that it is quite similar to flying the BELL; it is just a different platform. It is a big bigger; it is more fuel consumptive, it is larger so there’s more considerations prior to be fully trained on those helicopters.”

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