As an ‘operational pause’ in Cadet activities and an ongoing development of return-to-work strategies and risk-management plans continues, and ADF Cadets can expect to be soon resume parades and certain specified activities, Cadets and staff have been thanked for their patience and innovation.
This pause has also provided an opportunity for members to reflect on the milestones achieved to date and to work on how they will rebuild post COVID-19.
AAFC’s Aviation Operations Wing has been restructured to better achieve its aim of delivering flying pathways through gliding and powered flying experiences and training.
It will now achieve this through its two subordinate units – the Elementary Flying Training School (EFTS) and the Gliding Training School (GTS).
As the EFTS considers options for resuming flying training, it is also preparing to honour its graduates – Cadets who have flown their first solo flight in the new Diamond DA40 NG light aircraft.
Cadet Sergeant Mark Hargreaves, No 402 Squadron, was the first Air Force Cadet to fly solo in the DA40 NG.
He said, “I would like to thank the Australian Air Force Cadets and the RAAF for giving me and other cadets the opportunity to undertake flying courses where cadets can live their dream and fly in the high-tech and amazing DA40- NG”.
Cadet Corporal Brianna Haunold, No 710 Squadron, was the first from Western Australia to fly her first solo flight in the DA40 NG – on 18 April 2019.
She recorded her impressions of flying with experienced instructors: “This for me was especially valuable as I wish to join the Air Force in the future, so I have an idea of what to expect and have gained skills I believe will be useful to me within the Air Force”.
Cadet Corporals James Culpeper, No 508 Squadron, and Patrick Swingler, No 405 Squadron, also attended a powered flying training course at EFTS Point Cook last year, but poor weather initially denied them the opportunity to make their first solo flight.
They returned later in the year for continuation training.
Powered flying instructor Squadron Leader (AAFC) Nico Robbertse said: “These consolidation flights included air work in the general flying area, with a return flight to the airfield where they conducted circuit flying with the emphasis on ‘circuit emergency’ training”.
On 1 December they flew their first solo flight.
SQNLDR(AAFC) Robbertse observed: “On completion of their first solo flight, their smiles were much broader than just ear-to-ear, they extended all the way to the back of their heads”.
SQNLDR(AAFC) Robbertse is now Commanding Officer of the Elementary Flying Training School at Point Cook.
EFTS is currently compiling a montage of its solo pilots – to create a display that will honour this great milestone in the careers of our Air Force Cadets.
AAFC has been conducting an ‘operational pause’ in all activities since 15 March 2020, with the suspension of all ADF Cadet face-to-face activities until further notice.