Australian Air League Cadet of the Year – 2018/2019

Australian Air League Cadet of the Year participants for 2019

On Saturday 23rd March, candidates for the Australian Air League Cadet of the Year flew in from around Australia for the selection of this prestigious award.

This year saw a change to the annual selection of the League’s Cadet of the Year (COY).

In the past, the process has been spread over two days with a formal presentation on the Saturday evening on a nominated topic. The selection was conducted in conjunction with a meeting of the Council of the Australian Air League and involved all members of the Council as well as some invited guests attending the presentation on the Saturday evening.

This year we opted for a one-day event with the presentations being made available to the members of the Federal Staff to be reviewed prior to the event and not being personally presented to an audience. Other members of the Council were not involved. Feedback from, this year’s candidates indicated that the one-day assessment process was favoured over the two-day process.

The female candidates for this year’s consideration were:

VictoriaRowvilleSqn SgtRachael FLEMING
NSW GirlsDoyalsonCplCaitlyn EDWARDS

The male candidates for this year’s consideration were:

VictoriaBerwickSgtVictor TIKHANOV
QueenslandGold CoastSgtTristan DUNCOMBE
NSW BoysSutherland ShireSgtDarby THOMPSON
South AustraliaPort AdelaideSgtElliot MULLIGAN

This year, the candidates ages and experience was more even indicating that the challenge would be close in each category.

Candidates from interstate met with the NSW candidates at Mascot airport and were transported to the to the NSW Boys’ Group Air Activities Centre at Camden where they were introduced to the members of the Federal Staff.

The Australian Air League’s Piper PA-28 VH-UNL

The activities commenced at 1100 hours, with three flights conducted in the League’s owned aircraft VH-UNL operated by the NSW Boys’ Group Air Activities pilot, Rocky Cheung.

Around the flying schedule were conducted uniform inspections, knowledge assessments and individual panel interviews, the results from which are entered in to a weighted analysis matrix to ascertain the successful candidates.

The selection process included the following contributing components and were weighted to provide a final result

Attitude; Behaviour

Knowledge Test




Interpersonal Skills

Any of the nominated candidates would be able to represent our Organisation, at both Group and Federal levels, with pride and they should be very proud of their performance. Their families, Squadrons and Groups who assisted them with their preparation should be very proud of their involvement and performance. All were, and are, winners and as stated earlier the challenge was, aa expected, close.

After lunch the results were announced.

  • Sqn Sgt Rachael Fleming, Victoria Group
  • Sgt Tristan Duncombe, Queensland Group
Australian Air League Cadets of Year for 2019, Sgt Tristan Duncombe and Sqn.Sgt. Rachael Fleming with Chief Commissioner Ian Rickards

On behalf of the Australian Air League Inc., hearty congratulations were extended to Rachael and Tristan along with congratulations, and commiserations, to their colleagues who were not successful but whose participation, as stated earlier, was of an excellent standard.

To miss out on selection in such company is no disgrace as those selected, to represent their Groups, were truly outstanding in all aspects and, as previously stated, their parents, officers and colleagues can be very proud of them and they can take pride in the effort they made.

The League’s thanks go to the NSW Boys’ Group for making the venue available, Rocky Cheung the NSW Boys’ Group Air Activities pilot that assisted throughout the day whilst managing ongoing student flying training and to Lt Comr. Remington, DSA., MSA for the fine catering effort.

All who attended the weekend should be proud of their individual contribution in making the weekend a success, and for providing our candidates with an experience that they will not forget quickly.

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