To achieve its mission of developing young Australians in a military and aviation environment, the Australian Air Force Cadets offers gliding scholarships to support cadets and staff who wish to achieve solo status.
FILE IMAGE (February 2017): A young Cadet Nic Sibly prepares for a Pilot Experience Flight with Adelaide Biplanes at Aldinga airfield. Photo courtesy of Gaylene Smith of Adelaide Biplanes
Cadet Sergeant Nic Sibly from No 601 Squadron, AAFC (Keswick Barracks), is one who has achieved solo glider status (in July 2018) courtesy of these RAAF/AAFC gliding scholarships.
Nic’s introduction to the world of aviation was a Pilot Experience Flight at Aldinga airfield in February 2017 in an American Champion 8KCAB Super Decathlon, a 2004 model built in Rochester, Wisconsin.
From this, he progressed to being one of the 6 Wing competitors in the 2018 AAFC National Aviation Competition.
CSGT Rowett and CCPL Sibly came first in the theory component of the gliding competition, and were given a special mention by the judges for their ability to adapt to aero-tow launches in their assessed flights during the competition despite never having used that launch method before.
Meanwhile Nic has continued with his cadet career – recently graduating from this year’s 6 Wing Senior NCO Course, and has been promoted to Cadet Sergeant.
Cadet Sergeant Sibly recently spoke to the 6 Wing Public Affairs & Communication Officer, Flying Officer (AAFC) Paul Rosenzweig, about some highlights of his training.
What made you want to be a cadet?
I joined up in the middle of 2016; I really wanted to join the Australian Air Force Cadets to develop my interest in aviation. It’s something I’d always wanted to do, and now I’m progressing well in the aviation field.
What is your first memory of cadets?
I was 14 and I remember that my squadron ran a ‘tactical dining-in night’: we wore our camouflage uniform instead of formal dress, we were seated on the lawn instead of in a dining room, and we had pizza instead of a formal meal. That was a highlight for me, and that’s when I realised that cadets is where I’m meant to be.
What is your best memory of cadets?
I know it’s only been a couple of years since I joined up, but I’ve done so much. I’ve attended two GST (General Service Training) camps and two promotion courses, and I haven’t missed a gliding camp since I started. I’m pretty committed to the AAFC. I haven’t done one thing where I would say “this isn’t why I joined up”. It’s all been great.
What was your first experience of flying?
I did a powered PEX flight at Aldinga in a Super Decathlon: we went up and that was my first time flying. That led me to then pursue gliding, and I haven’t stopped since.
What has the AAFC given you?
The AAFC has taught me teamwork. This ability to depend on other people, while I know they also depend on me, allows us all to achieve our common goals.
I’ve been lucky to receive some gliding scholarships. Without these scholarships and support from so many other people, a lot of people, I wouldn’t have been able to achieve this and pursue my dream of being a pilot.
The other thing is friendship: I have made so many friends through the AAFC, and we will be friends forever. We stand by each other, and always will.
What would you tell a new recruit joining today?
Don’t give up. Stay committed, and the AAFC will definitely benefit you.
The highlight of training within the AAFC, an air-minded youth organisation actively supported by the RAAF, would have to be gaining the right to fly an aircraft solo.
Having gone solo, Cadet Sergeant Sibly recently completed his out-landing training to qualify for his ‘C’ Certificate which will allow him to fly a glider as a licenced pilot.
He aims to become an air experience instructor.
All aviation instruction and training activities for 6 Wing (SA and Mildura) are conducted by No 906 Aviation Training Squadron.
No 906 Squadron offers Pilot Experience Flights in powered aircraft (under the supervision of a qualified flying instructor) to AAFC cadets and staff at no cost.
The squadron also administers the RAAF Flight Scholarship Scheme for 6 Wing (powered flight and gliding), to support AAFC cadets and staff who wish to achieve solo status.