Student pilots cleared for takeoff

Dark skies failed to dampen the spirits of those attending the 270 ADF Pilots’ Course Graduation, where 11 students from 2 Flying Training School received their wings in a ceremony held at RAAF Base Pearce.

CAPTION270 ADF Pilots’ Course graduates (from left) Lieutenant Michael Harrigan, Lieutenant Gregory Cook and Lieutenant Harrison Coldwell pose for a photo at dawn on the flight line with a Pilatus PC-21 aircraft at RAAF Base Pearce in WA. Story by Stephanie Hallen. Photos by Chris Kershaw.

Reviewing Officer Air Commodore Pete Thompson, a centurion graduate from Course 170, congratulated the Air Force and Navy pilot graduates on receiving their wings.

“It is an honour to celebrate this milestone with you and your families,” Air Commodore Thompson said.

“Do you remember the day you decided upon a career as an Australian Defence Force pilot, or the uncertainty and excitement of the unknown road ahead? You are here now.

“The opportunities ahead of you are limitless. Take them, and continue to apply the courage and fortitude you’ve displayed to date.”

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CAPTIONReviewing Officer Air Commodore Pete Thompson reviews the 270 ADF Pilots’ Course graduates during the ceremony.

Four graduates received awards for their achievements during the course.

Lieutenant Gregory Cook was awarded the S.J. Goble Memorial Trophy as most proficient pilot, the G. Scutt/E. Davey Memorial Trophy for most proficient at instrument flying and the Martin Baker Australia Navigation Trophy as the graduate displaying the highest level of navigation skills.

Lieutenant Cook also took out the Pilatus Aircraft Trophy as course dux.

His childhood dream now fulfilled, Lieutenant Cook reflected on a time he once contemplated joining the Air Force in the hopes of becoming a fast-jet pilot.

After receiving an inspiring brief from a Navy pilot during flight screening in 2016, he decided that the Navy is where he wanted to be.

“I had to consider what it was that I really wanted to do – I got to hear about and see some pretty cool things, such as helicopters manoeuvring to land on cliffs, which gave me a sense of the excitement and accomplishment that flying can bring.” Lieutenant Cook reflected.

The sense of freedom was the thing he enjoyed most about flying.

“When you’re up in the sky, you’re so focused and your senses are wrapped up in the moment, it’s a sense of freedom that is really unique and enjoyable,” he said.

Pilot Officer Nash Petrincic was awarded the ‘Fit-to-Fight’ High Performance Physical Training Award and Pilot Officer Gabrielle Adamson received the Royal Australian Air Force Association (WA Division) trophy for most improved.

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CAPTIONADF Pilots’ Course 270 graduate Pilot Officer Gabrielle Adamson is congratulated by Air Commodore Pete Thompson after receiving two awards for ‘Demonstrating the Highest Qualities in Leadership’ and ‘Most Improved’.

Pilot Officer Adamson was also awarded the Returned Services League Trophy for demonstrating the highest qualities in leadership.

The Air BP Australia Trophy for the graduate with the highest aggregate of academic marks was awarded to Lieutenant Harrison Coldwell.

Squadron Leader Anthony Rooke demonstrated the capability of the Pilatus PC-21 aircraft in a superb aerobatics display that was a highlight for invited guests, family and friends.

Guests were also treated to spectacular flypasts, featuring the Hawk 127 and Pilatus PC-21 aircraft, over the skies of RAAF Base Pearce.


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