Metricon Stadium is a hive of activity on eleven Gold Coast SUNS match days each year, but there was a different kind of noise thundering overhead this week as the venue continues to show off its versatility.
The sound was coming from Black Hawk helicopters which were deployed over Metricon Stadium as part of a series of counter-terrorism exercises ahead of next month’s G20 International Leaders Summit in Brisbane.
Gold Coast’s home of AFL football once again played host to the Australian Defence Force’s 6th Aviation Regiment, with four high-powered battlefield choppers completing a succession of high-speed transitions into the playing arena.
The highly-advanced simulation formed part of the ADF’s intensive training program.
While the Special Operation exercise has been conducted at venues all over the country, Officer-in-Command, Major Brenton Mellor, told goldcoastfc.com.au Metricon Stadium provided his aviation flight crew with unique obstacles not found anywhere else, in particular the design of the stadium’s roof, incorporating the high-efficiency solar panels that circle the seating bowl.
“The curve tails (solar panels) actually help in terms of picking our visual reference, because the most important element for a pilot when he is coming in to deploy his troops is that he has a clear vision so he knows how best to control the air craft,” Maj Mellor said.
“One of the stadiums we engaged at recently had a flat roof, that under googles is almost impossible to tell where you are hover, and it is not excellent for visibility purposes.
“So this (Metricon Stadium) is different, and the guys need to be used to it and know what it is.”
The day-night training simulation was completed over a full day, with the aviation unit ascending into the stadium from various points surrounding the precinct.