Red-Flag 23-1 provides international pilots with experience flying in high mountain regions

Inside The Gates
Red-Flag 23-1 provides international pilots with experience flying in high mountain regions
Published: Oct. 19, 2022 at 6:37 PM AKDT
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

ANCHORAGE, Alaska (KTUU) - Red-Flag Alaska 23-1 is back on Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson this year. The first round of Red-Flag began on Oct. 6, featuring NATO partners, the United Kingdom’s Royal Air Force, and the Royal New Zealand Air Force.

“We can all come here, practice together, and really work together,” Royal New Zealand Air Force Cpl. Joe Shave said. “In terms of being able to plan together, being able to see how other air forces operate. Because what’s normal for them and routine might not be for us and vice versa with different operations and different missions.”

Red Flag 23-1 will be focusing on Combat Delivery Systems and heavy equipment airdrops.

“We drop the ramp on the back of the hercs,” Shave said. “We have a big door out the back and plane tilts up and we throw a lot of equipment out the back with parachutes attached to them. Hopefully land them on the right spot and dropping equipment for our guys on the ground.”

Shave and his crew also got the opportunity to practice flying in the rigorous mountain landscape that makes up much of the Alaska terrain — a unique aspect of flying they are not used to back at home in Whenuapai, Auckland in New Zealand.

“It’s quite flat, a lot of beaches, really really nice summer spot,” Shave said. “Being beautiful Alaska there is a lot of chances to get up and around those ranges.”

Flying in Alaska is a completely different playing field. It is these experiences that highlight one of the aspects Red-Flag Alaska is all about.

“That kind of training really, really helps out our aircrews. Because like I said, we don’t get to much back home in New Zealand,” Shave said. “Helping out in exercises like this really helps our guys really be prepared.”