No 6 Wing cadets at the National Aviation Competition
Two Air Force cadets from No 6 Wing (South Australia and Mildura) had the privilege of competing recently at the Australian Air Force Cadets National Aviation Competition.
FILE PHOTO: Cadet Corporal Ian Van Schalkwyk, No 617 Squadron, Unley, about to take off in an ASK-21 Mi two-seater glider at Gawler airfield in South Australia, with 600 Squadron’s Chief Flying Instructor–Gliding, Pilot Officer (AAFC) Dennis Medlow.
The competition was held over the first four days of December at the AAFC National Aviation Centre at Bathurst, NSW.
Participants were required to complete four flights (one familiarisation flight and three assessed flights), as well as a theory component to assess their general aeronautical knowledge.
Among the 14 cadets representing their respective Wings, the SA representatives were Cadet Corporal Ian Van Schalkwyk from No 617 Squadron at Unley (gliding component) and Cadet Corporal William Chaffer from No 609 Squadron at Warradale Barracks (powered component).
Hawker Pacific sponsored this year’s event, and the four individual award winners received a Hawker Pacific flying scholarship.
No 2 Wing, winners of the WGCDR(AIRTC) Nev Currey Award for the Overall Best Wing in Powered Flight and Gliding, deserve hearty congratulations.
Although the two South Australian competitors did not bring home a trophy, the Commanding Officer of No 600 (Aviation Training) Squadron, Squadron Leader (AAFC) Nicolaas Robbertse said, “These two cadets did 6 Wing proud”.
The National Aviation Competition was visited by the Western Advocate newspaper from Bathurst, whose story included the observation: “They may not be able to drive a car, but they certainly know how to manoeuvre an aircraft. A group of Australian Air Force Cadets are currently in Bathurst showcasing their gliding and powered flying skills for assessment in the National Aviation Competition. The participating Cadets are all between 15 and 17 years of age and appropriately qualified in both solo gliding and solo powered flight”.
Their headline photo included the sole South Australian gliding competitor, Cadet Corporal Ian Van Schalkwyk, aged 15.
Cadet Corporal Van Schalkwyk achieved solo gliding status earlier this year through his training with No 600 Squadron – while a Year 9 student, who hasn’t even started taking driving lessons – going solo four days after his 15th birthday!
Ian said, “I joined the AAFC because I’ve always wanted to fly”.
His father was a recreational pilot, and now Ian has risen to the level of competing as a solo pilot in a national competition.
600 Squadron’s Chief Flying Instructor–Gliding, Pilot Officer (AAFC) Dennis Medlow said: “Ian is one of the first cohort of Cadets to achieve solo status in the new AAFC gliders purchased by the RAAF”.
“He has attended a number of camps and activities that have allowed him to gain flying skills, as well as attaining his Daily Inspector airworthiness qualification” Pilot Officer Medlow said.
“Ian was selected to represent 6WG at NAC on the basis of his flying and airmanship skills, and he has represented the Wing admirably”.