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Taumarunui Man Flying High In Australian Warfighting Exercise

“A little bit of effort in high school will pay big dividends down the track. Ensure you do the basic sciences and you’ll be in a good position to apply for most RNZAF roles.”
“A little bit of effort in high school will pay big dividends down the track. Ensure you do the basic sciences and you’ll be in a good position to apply for most RNZAF roles.”

8 July 2015

Wing Commander (WGCDR) Scott McKenzie had a single dream as a child – to be a helicopter pilot.

“I’ve always wanted to fly helicopters and the Royal New Zealand Air Force (RNZAF) provides the best training for that,” said the former head boy of Taumarunui High School in the King Country.

WGCDR McKenzie, the Commanding Officer of the RNZAF’s 3 Squadron, leads a 40-strong Air Force group that forms part of the New Zealand Defence Force contingent to Exercise Talisman Sabre, Australia’s largest warfighting exercise.

During the exercise, taking place over 5-21 July, a Seasprite helicopter is embarked on the frigate HMNZS TE KAHA, a C-130 Hercules airlift aircraft is operating from various airfields, while two RNZAF NH90 helicopters are operating as part of the Australian Defence Force’s 16th Aviation Brigade.

“Taking part in a major exercise with a medium-to-high threat scenario and all the modern equipment that New Zealand, Australia and the United States have is really exciting,” he said.

“We will also be getting a glimpse of the operations our NH90 helicopters will be able to carry out in the very near future. They are spectacular aircraft with great capability to support battlefield manoeuvres.

“It is an opportunity to understand how the NH90s can add value to operations that involve our security partners and to see the strength that our Kiwiness adds to the mix,” he added.

Macka, as he is known to his peers, joined the Air Force in 1995 after over two years working on a pharmacy degree at the University of Otago. The grandson of a combat pilot, he considers it an honour to lead the squadron that his grandfather flew for during World War II.

He is a former leader of the RNZAF Red Checkers Formation Aerobatic Team and has three tours of Timor-Leste under his belt, the first one in 1999.

“It was a great opportunity to assist people who were not able to fight for their own freedom and to create a secure environment for them to be able to set up and run their own country,” he said of his deployment to Timor-Leste. As CO of 3 Squadron, he is in charge of the RNZAF’s NH90 and A109 helicopters.

McKenzie advises high school students who are keen to join the Air Force to do maths, physics and science subjects.

“A little bit of effort in high school will pay big dividends down the track. Ensure you do the basic sciences and you’ll be in a good position to apply for most RNZAF roles.”

ENDS
For more information please contact Defence Public Affairs on 021 487 980

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