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Student pilot, Hamish Reichardt

Wiseowl 88 - Motueka Aerodrome March 2007. Exercise Wiseowl is a Royal New Zealand Air Force exercise which teaches trainee pilots how to operate a location remote from the comforts and conveniences of RNZAF Base Ohakea.PLTOFF Hamish Reichardt.

15 March 2007

At 18 years of age Air Force student pilot Hamish Reichardt already has more than 50 flying hours to his name.

The former John Paul College student is the youngest trainee to come through a demanding Air Force solo flying exercise at Motueka Air Field known as Exercise Wiseowl.

For the past two weeks Pilot Officer Reichardt has left behind the comforts of home to live in a tented in camp with eight other Air Force pilots to live in a self sustaining camp.

He says the highlight of the bi-annual exercise, which gives pilots the chance to fly RNZAF Airtrainers in unfamiliar skies, was flying solo in formation for the first time.

“Solo formation flying is pretty nerve racking. We can fly up to 6-feet apart wing to wing so it’s pretty exciting. I’ve wanted to fly since I was seven years old and Air Force jets used to fly past my family’s farm doing practice bombing runs to Edgecumbe.”

For all of the students the exercise is their first opportunity to fly the distinctive yellow and black CT-4 Airtrainers outside of Ohakea Air Force Base while at the same time living together in a self-sufficient camp.

Exercise Wiseowl is part of the initial 34-week Wings course at the Pilot Training Squadron.

During the course Pilot Officer Reichardt and his fellow students learn basic flying techniques, aerobatics, instrument and night flying and navigation.