The University of South Australia’s Aviation Academy will run a seven-day-a-week aerial shark patrol service this summer, starting on Saturday (December 1) through to the end of March.
Emergency Services Minister Jennifer Rankine has announced UniSA will provide the service, which this year includes an extra 170 hours of shark patrols along the metropolitan coast line.
Previously UniSA ran the week-day patrols but will now also provide the patrols on weekends and public holidays after winning the SA Government contract for the next three summer seasons.
UniSA’s daily patrols will run from North Haven to Rapid Bay from 11am to 8pm, while in the school holidays patrols will be extended to include daily flights along the south coast between Victor Harbor and the Murray Mouth.
UniSA Head of Aviation Neil Hyland says the Aviation Academy is delighted to be deployed for more hours over the summer, giving young pilots valuable flying experience and providing an important community service.
“Shark patrol provides an invaluable opportunity for graduate pilots and crew to gain real operational experience,” Mr Hyland said.
“The shark patrol is an example of the diverse career opportunities available for graduate pilots, who are in demand in areas like fish spotting, ‘fly-in-fly-out’ for mining, instructing, charter, and of course regional, national and international airlines.
“Flying the shark patrol provides them with an insight into the wide range of career prospects and the professional responsibilities of air crew.”
UniSA uses fixed-wing aircraft for its patrols. When a shark is sighted, the aircraft will circle the shark, at the same time sounding a loud siren.
Shark patrol hours last summer reached 734. This summer there will be more than 900 hours.
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