Most kids grow up dreaming of becoming a fighter pilot.
CAPTION: Pilot Officer Mitchell Kennedy, centre, with his father, grandfather and photo of his great-grandfather next to a PC-21 aircraft at RAAF Base Pearce. Story by Corporal Jacob Joseph. Photo by Chris Kershaw.
For Pilot Officer Mitchell Kennedy, that outcome was maybe a foregone conclusion.
Three generations of Kennedy’s stood side-by-side during the No. 266 pilots course graduation ceremony at No. 2 Flying Training School on July 29.
The youngest was recent graduate Pilot Officer Mitchell Kennedy, now posted to No. 79 Squadron for introductory fast-jet training.
His father and grandfather were beside him.
Flight Lieutenant Iain Kennedy said he didn’t think he pushed his son into becoming a pilot in the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF).
“He was brought up around aeroplanes and our Air Force friends,” Flight Lieutenant Iain Kennedy said.
“His great grandfather and grandfather were both Royal Air Force pilots and now he’s a RAAF pilot as well.”
As the fourth generation of military pilot in his family, some would say flying is in Pilot Officer Kennedy’s DNA.
He said it’s more to do with hard work.
“I’ve seen people with no aviation history work hard and have a passion for flying and achieve what we’ve achieved,” Pilot Officer Kennedy said.
Proud father Flight Lieutenant Kennedy, who graduated his own pilot’s course in 1987, served for a decade piloting Hercules and as a flight instructor.
His grandfather, Flight Lieutenant Ron Kennedy, piloted Vulcan bombers in the Royal Air Force before an exchange posting to RAAF, which included time with the Roulettes in 1972.
Three generations held a photo of the eldest military pilot to bear the Kennedy family name.
His great-grandfather, Flight Lieutenant John Kennedy flew Blenheim bombers during WW2, taking part in the evacuation of Singapore and escaping death after his plane crash landed in Sumatra.
Pilot Officer Kennedy’s mother, a former air traffic controller, joined the Kennedy men to celebrate the latest flight school graduate.
The most recent Kennedy to graduate also broke new ground.
Pilot Officer Kennedy was the first in his family to be selected for fast-jet training – something his father doesn’t want to go to his head.
“I don’t think you can measure the pride we feel, we’re pretty ecstatic,” Flight Lieutenant Kennedy said.
“He did very well, but we won’t tell him that to his face.”
And as far as continuing the family tradition, Pilot Officer Kennedy said he had “secret hopes” his son or daughter might follow in his footsteps.
“But that’s a long way off,” he said.