A Heroic Journey of SUH 537 recorded 10,000 Flying Hours
4:18pm on Tuesday 31st October 2023
The Bell 212 SUH 537 gallantly logged 10,000 flying hours on 28 Oct 2023. This exceptionally versatile flying machine initially crafted in August 1982 earned its rightful place in the Sri Lanka Air Force (SLAF) in 1985. It commenced its service with a modest eighty-two flying hours under the banner of the No 4 Helicopter Squadron. In 1994, a significant transition took place when SUH 537, along with nine fellow Bell 212 helicopters, were incorporated into No 401 Helicopter Squadron, the predecessor to the illustrious No 7 Helicopter Squadron.

Since its inaugural inspection, SUH 537 has been an unwavering participant in every major military operation associated with the war against terrorism, including the pivotal humanitarian mission. To this day, it stands as a proud guardian of the nation, fulfilling multifaceted roles encompassing VIP, passenger, cargo transportation, Search and Rescue (SAR) missions, Humanitarian Aid in Disaster Relief Operations (HADR), Casualty Evacuations and serving as an advanced helicopter trainer.

The attainment of 10,000 flying hours stands as a testament to the indefatigable dedication and unparalleled commitment of the engineering and support teams of No 7 Helicopter Squadron, alongside the personnel at AEW SLAF Base Katunayake.

Throughout its illustrious journey, the adept and professional flight and engineering crews of the squadron have consistently displayed exceptional dedication. Their remarkable contributions since the squadron's inception have been duly recognized and praised by the current Commanding Officer, Wing Commander Asanka Ratnayake. It is noteworthy that the historic flight marking the 10,000 flying hours milestone was masterfully piloted by Captain Sqn Ldr Nadun Deneththi, with Director General Air Operations Air Vice Marshal Bandu Edirisignhe serving as the Co-Pilot and the valuable cooperation of Sqn Ldr Dileep Meegahakumbura. Additionally, Flight Sergeant Udaya Kumara WMS and Corporal Kathigasiri DMD provided invaluable assistance as the two air gunners during the Aircrew Water and Jungle Survival Course at Sri Lanka Air Force Station Ampara.


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