Aircraftwoman Selena Smith has had an exciting and interesting gap year in the Air Force.
CAPTION: Aircraftwoman Selena Smith at the 2022 Wings Over Illawarra Airshow. Story by Captain Sarah Vesey. Photo by LAC Chris Tsakisiris.
The 19-year-old from the remote town of Karratha in the Pilbara region in Western Australia recently capped off her year by joining four other Air Force drone racers in a two-day high-speed race watched by thousands of visitors.
“I have always been interested in avionics so I joined the Gap Year program as an aircraft support technician posted to 3 Squadron in RAAF Williamtown,” Aircraftwoman Smith said.
“I heard there was an Air Force Drone Racing team so I was excited to get involved and learn more about building, flying and repairing racing drones.”
Aircraftwoman Smith was the Air Force Drone Racing Team’s newest pilot at the Wings Over Illawarra Air Show in Shellharbour in November.
“There is a lot going on when you are racing and all you can see is the vision in the goggles. I have learnt so much from the more experienced racers and everyone helps each other out,” she said.
The opportunity to develop friendships within the Air Force Drone Racing Team and also with pilots from the Army Drone Racing Team has been a highlight for Aircraftwoman Smith.
“It has been a great way of finding out about the diverse range of careers and pathways that are on offer in Defence,” she said.
“I have loved my gap year experience and I have now applied to transfer to the permanent Air Force to continue my career, which will also mean I can keep racing with the Drone Team.”