The Australian Air League Gawler Airfield Squadron has moved to town to teach the pilots of the future. Formally based at Elizabeth Downs Primary School and known as the Munno Para Squadron, the group has relocated to the local airfield to be closer to all things aviation.
David Butcher, from the squadron, said the move will enable cadets to get amongst other pilots and aircraft.
“(At Elizabeth Downs Primary School) we didn’t have the facilities there to have aircraft close by, we didn’t have all the facilities like a parade ground… whereas at the Gawler Airfield we have all the aircraft on hand there, we have briefing rooms, there is all the aircraft that is available to us there and we’ve got plenty of room and space to et up our own training facilities,” he said.
The Australian Air League was formed in 1934 and has branches across Australia. It is an independent youth organisation that aims to promote good citizenship and the development of aviation in youths. Cadets learn about the history and science of aviation and undertake practical field demonstrations. Mr Butcher said the group provides “a bit of an adventure” for youngsters.
“The best thing about it is the kids learning… and that we can further (their) interest in their theory studies,” he said. “We get the kids in the air as much as we can, take them flying.”
Cadets also take part in a number of community events each year. “We do Anzac Day, official flag ceremonies, the Australia Day celebration and we also do a lot of street parades so we get out into the community a fair bit and do our bit,” Mr Butcher Said.
And it can lead to greater things. “We’ve actually had cadets that have left us, they’ve gotten to that age, and they’ve joined the air force now and they’re going in as trainee pilots,” Mr Butcher said.
The not-for-profit organisation always welcomes new members. Boys and girls aged eight to 18 years can join as cadets, while adults can sign up as officers or instructors. The Gawler Airfield Squadron meets at the airfield every wednesday night from 7pm to 9pm and members also participate in weekend activities.
For more information, phone Mr Butcher (0411 831 464) or visit www.airleague.com.au