Air Force prepares for royal flight
The Royal Thai Air Force (RTAF) yesterday held a meeting to prepare pilots and helicopters for His Majesty the King's visit to Ratchaburi on Sunday July 15 to inspect a royal soil-rehabilitation project at Khao Cha Ngum.At the 201st Helicopter Squadron (Royal Guard), the head of the Royal Helicopter Coordination Centre, Air Vice Marshal Saman Sangkhorn, joined the meeting with the pilots who are to transport HM the King, HM the Queen and HRH Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn.
The RTAF will provide three helicopters - including the Bell 412 EP helicopter number 36303, piloted by Air Vice Marshal Thanomsak Yenpiam and Group Captain Sermkiat Konmanee, for the monarch and royal family members - while the Royal Thai Army will provide one helicopter.
Air Force chief Air Chief Marshall Itthiporn Supawong will be the director of transportation for this royal trip.
The first pilot, Thanomsak, said he was proud and grateful to have a chance to fly the royal helicopter again. He has served in this important job since 1993. The most recent royal flight he piloted was on November 8, 2005, when the King and HRH Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn visited Yang Chum reservoir.
The Bell 412 EP helicopter has been used by the RTAF since 2003. Its 1,800-horsepower engine can achieve a speed of 120 knots, altitude of 20,000 feet and can fly for up to three hours.