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Claire Drinkwater of No 49 (Kapiti) Squadron buttons up after checking her aircraft’s oil. Claire is a ‘Return Student’, her second time at this course.

the Air Force? ‘Being a return student has definitely ensured lots of progress and having different instructors has helped too. Yes, I want a career in the Air Force, or secondly for a commercial airline,’ she said. What has been the biggest highlight?

‘The high quality of and the huge amount from flying every day.

instruction of progress Obviously

How has your ATC training and experience helped and are you considering a career in aviation or

the cheap flying beneficial too.’




Daniel Russell of No 36 (Grey- mouth) Squadron cleans his wind-













donated by the Canterbury





Aero ‘First

Solo’ on the course.

How has your ATC training and

experience helped and are you considering a career in aviation or the Air Force? ’The oppor- tunity is fantastic, the training is helping lots with my Private Pilots Licence and with my first solo flight. Yes, I am definitely pursuing a career in the RNZAF or commercial aviation, but my first choice is the Air Force!’ he said. What has been the biggest high- light? ‘Watching your team mates go solo and going solo myself. The teamwork from everyone was awesome.’

Air, New Zealand Cadet Forces, National Aviation Course, Woodbourne, People/ Group. These cadets are seen studying checklists with the help of their instructor Adam Eltham from Ardmore Flying School. Cadets from left to right are David Whyte, Laura Pothan, Leon van der Plas, John Chapman, and Robert Death. (Photo by Gavin Conroy)




The course is aimed at giving a total of 53 ATC cadets from throughout NZ training in power flying and basic flying navigation. NZ Cadet Forces Area Coordinator (Southern), and one of the course organizers, W/O Buzz Harvey, explains how the popular NZDF- sponsored course works

The course comprises two flights - the Power Flying Flight and the Navigation Flight. The Power Flying flight has 30 ab initio cadets plus five ‘return cadets’ undertaking the activity for a second time, who are looking to further their flying training. Students are in syndicates of five and there are seven aircraft and instructors. All students are awarded a scholarship that sponsors much of their flying training. Scholarship sponsors include RNZAF, Air New Zealand, NZ Associa- tion for Women in Aviation, Safe Air Ltd, RNZAFA, NZ Aeronautical Trust, and the ATC Golden Jubilee Trust. Each cadet completes theory instruction at the Ground School phase and receives 9-10 hours flying instruction each over the time they are at Woodbourne.

Chief Flying Instructor (CFI), WGCDR Padre John Neal leads the civilian flying instructors, who give their time free for the length of the course. Padre Neal, an ex-ATC Cadet and an ex-ATC officer before joining the RNZAF 20 years ago, is a long-time supporter and contributor to the course. This is his 27th course, and his 25th as CFI.

The Navigation Flight has 18 students learning air navigation. They spend the first few days in the classroom learning air navigation then have three flights each of 1-2 hours putting their skills into practice navigating about the top half of the South Island. The Brevet Club of NZ and the Scottwood Trust generously sponsor most of the costs for all the Navigation students. These students end their course by sitting the Navigation Exam of the Private Pilots Licence Theory Exams, administered by Aviation Services Ltd (ASL). This exam, along with the Flight Radio Telephone Operators rating for the Power Flying cadets, is graciously provided free of charge by the General Manager of ASL, GPCAPT (rtd.) Brian Carruthers, who also attends the last day of the course to mark the exams for the students.

The two-week course is capped off with a prize-giving function attended by sponsors and senior aviation dignitaries, including CAF, senior Air NZ staff (usually the Chief Pilot) and the Director of Civil Aviation in NZ. At this function cadets who have ‘first soloed’ get presented their ATC Flying Badge and the navigators who pass their course receive the ATC Navigation Badge.

This year’s course produced 18 first solos. Phil Le Couteur Safety Prize: Cadet Dayna Wilhelmus

  • 27 Sqn, Blenheim

Gus Pyper Memorial Trophy: Cadet Lindsay Johnstone

  • 17 Sqn, Christchurch

Air New Zealand Prize: Cadet Jared Barnes – 16 Sqn, Tauranga. (This is a new prize awarded to the best power flying achiever as judged by the flying instructors. The prize includes tickets to Auckland and 2 hours in an AirNZ Flight Simulator for the winner and three friends, and then a day trip for the winner to Australia and back on an aircraft as crew. A grand prize, generously provided by Air New Zealand in addition to their scholarship sponsorship).


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