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Success after a ‘long, hard slog’

By FLTLT Gordon Brown

The Central Band plays at the parade

The Central Band plays at the parade.

A PC-9 performs a solo aerobatics display
at the graduation.

A PC-9 performs a solo aerobatics display at the graduation.

CAF AIRMSHL Angus Houston presents
OFFCDT David Bell the Dux of the Course.

CAF AIRMSHL Angus Houston presents OFFCDT David Bell the Dux of the Course.

Photos by CPL Gary Dixon

THE newest military aviators of the Air Force and Navy are the 12 graduates of No. 199 Pilots course, who graduated from the RAAF Advanced Pilots course at 2FTS, RAAF Base Pearce, on September 10.

After putting in hours of ground and fl ying training during the previous 38 weeks, the student pilots were excited at the prospect of now being posted to operational units.

Offi cer Cadet David Bell, who has been posted to No. 79 Squadron to fl y the Hawk 127 Lead-in Fighter, said the pilot’s course was “a long, hard slog” so it was a big relief to have it behind him.

“I’m looking forward to getting into a new aeroplane and applying what we’ve learnt on course to its operational role,” he said.

OFFCDT Bell was awarded Dux of the Course, Most Profi cient Pilot, Highest Academic Marks, Instrument Flying and the Navigation awards. Offi cer Cadet Joel Stitt won the Most Improved and Aerobatics prize.

Acting Sub-Lieutenant Benjamin Hammond was awarded the Leadership prize. Graduation reviewing offi cer CAF Air Marshal Angus Houston was impressed by the standard of the parade.

In his address, AIRMSHL Houston recognised the effort put in by the graduates but encouraged them to continue the hard work to achieve the highest levels of professional excellence, leadership and teamwork in the operational environment.

“You must maintain the current safe fl ying record,” he said.

“The best pilots are professional pilots and this requires ongoing dedication until your last fl ight in the ADF.” As is customary before graduation, 2FTS paid tribute to the hard work put in by the student pilots.

Each student was hosted by a QFI in a Thunderbird formation fl ypast of about 22 PC9 aircraft, the largest formation the Air Force undertakes.

The route of the fl ypast encompassed Rottnest Island, Perth city and the Pearce base, where family and friends were gathered to help celebrate.

Postings for course members include Nos. 34, 36, 38, 79, 292 and 723 Squadrons.

 

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