6 June 2023
Fourteen students from 269 Pilots’ Course have become the newest pilots in the ADF.
They received their wings after graduating from 2 Flying Training School at RAAF Base Pearce in what marked the first graduation of 2023.
Invited guests, friends and family were treated to a thrilling aerobatic display by Flight Lieutenant Victor Hare, as he demonstrated the capability of the Pilatus PC-21.
The graduates undertook intensive training in advanced general, instrument, navigation and night and formation flying which will allow them to transition to flying operational aircraft.
Parade reviewing officer, Air Commodore (retd) Gregory Frisina praised the Air Force and Navy pilot graduates on completing their course and acknowledged the support that the families had provided throughout their journey to wings.
“I stood where you are some 30 years ago, so I know all the hard work you put in, but there are a lot of people who have helped you get here today,” Air Commodore Frisina said.
“You are the newest and brightest leaders in our ADF. I beg you to consider coming back here in the future as instructors, and pass on your knowledge and skills to the next generation. Congratulations to you all and best of luck in your endeavours.”
Six graduates received awards for their achievements during the course.
Pilot Officer Andrew Cary, was awarded the S.J. Goble Memorial Trophy as most proficient pilot, the G. Scutt/E. Davey Memorial Trophy for most proficient at instrument flying and the Air BP Australia Trophy for the highest aggregate of academic marks.
Pilot Officer Andrew Cary also took out the Pilatus Aircraft Trophy as course dux.
“I have always wanted to fly, and my family have always been passionate about aviation, but I never thought I would be able to become a pilot in the ADF,” Pilot Officer Cary said.
“I enlisted in Defence in 2016 as a gap year, and only ever intended to stay for 12 months, but as soon as I was in, I knew that Defence is where I wanted to be
“Becoming a pilot is a dream come true. There is no better feeling than being in the air where I get to watch the world fly by beneath me.”
Pilot Officer Harrison Worner was awarded the ‘Fit-to-Fight’ High Performance Physical Training Award, and Pilot Officer Chelsey Thompson was awarded the DJ. Friedrichs Aerobatics Trophy for the highest level of aerobatic skill.
Pilot Officer Bradley Sillis received the RAAF Association (WA Division) trophy for most improved, and Lieutenant Benjamin Leece was awarded the Returned Services League Trophy for demonstrating the highest qualities in leadership.
The graduate displaying the highest level of navigation skills, Lieutenant Jure Plestina, was the first recipient of the newly sponsored Martin Baker Australia Navigation Trophy.