Each year in January, the NSW Group of the Australian Air League holds its annual flying camp at the League’s Air Activities Centre located at Camden Airport, southwest of Sydney. The camp runs for nine days and allows the cadets to kick-start their flying training – the camps have been held annually for over 20 years.
The Air League began flying at Camden Airport in 1980 with the Scouts and, in 1986, established its own Air Activities Centre at Camden. The centre allows cadets to undertake air experience flights and flying training and participate in the annual flying camps held during the January and April school holidays.
This year, 14 student pilots attended the nine-day camp, where they ate, studied, and worked as a team while undertaking flying training with the Air League’s volunteer instructors. The cadets came from ten Squadrons across NSW, with one cadet coming all the way from Tamworth, and they quickly bonded as a team.
As with previous years, the cadets came into camp with a wide range of flying experience. For some, this was their first camp where they could experience the taste of flight. For others, it was an opportunity to build on their training from previous camps and to catch up with friends from previous years.
One of the returning students was Leading Cadet Benjamin Hunt from Taree. This was his third camp for Ben, and one of the highlights was achieving his first solo in the League’s Cessna 172 VH-PAT.
For Senior Cadet Dante Mulqueeny from Manly Squadron, this was his first flying camp. Dante’s interest in aviation began with his grandfather, a keen aeromodeller, and he had nothing but praise for the camp, “The camp has been brilliant, the staff are all amazing, and I’ve made some great friends. And the flying has been a dream!”
Whilst a few days were lost to rain and overcast skies, the cadets still made the most of the opportunity and achieved some impressive statistics for the week:
- Flights Completed: 68
- Total Flight Hours: 69.5
- Number of Landing: 139
- Litres of fuel consumed: 1641 litres ($4,467.43 in cost)
The last night of the camp saw the cadets, instructors and staff participate in a formal Dining-In Night held in the hangar with guest of honour Mr David Binskin, General Manager Aviation, Aeria Management Group. The evening saw many awards presented to the cadets and volunteers for their achievements, including a first solo certificate to Leading Cadet Ben Hunt from Taree.
This camp would not have been possible without the assistance of the instructors, engineers, camp staff and supporters, who volunteered their time to train the cadets, maintain the aircraft, and look after them for the week. We thank them for their dedication to the aims of the Air League.