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Southland man to earn his wings

Flying Officer David Smith

21 March 2007

After more than a year of training, Riverton’s David Smith is on the verge of realising his dream of flying a Royal New Zealand Air Force P-3K Orion.

The former Aparima College student is one of six RNZAF pilots who will earn their wings tomorrow at a pilot graduation parade at Ohakea Air Force Base.

Flying Officer Smith said graduating allowed him to undertake the final phase of advanced pilot training before he could fly the RNZAF Orion, Hercules or Iroquois helicopter.
 
“I hope to fly the P-3K Orion. Carrying out low level tactical flying in such a large aircraft is a unique challenge”

The most difficult part of the pilot training course was the study, Flying Officer Smith said.

“The study is pretty full on and a few mates dropped out before completing the course. Fortunately I managed to get through and the feeling of passing each stage, whether it be formation flying or tactical flying, is extremely satisfying.”
 
RNZAF pilot graduation ceremonies are held twice per year and represent the culmination of 14 months of study and more than 200 hours of flying time by student pilots.

Air Component Commander Air Commodore Peter Stockwell will present the awards and His Excellency The Governor General Anand Satyanand will be in attendance to review the parade.