Forest Lake Fieldcraft Hike

Late last year, five cadets, accompanied by two dedicated adult leaders from Forest Lake Squadron, had a memorable experience undertaking a 20 km hike as part of the Duke of Edinburgh Award.

The Duke of Edinburgh’s Award is an exciting new challenge available to cadets in Queensland Group, with the first group of eight participants embarking on a journey of personal growth, development, and adventure. The Award is a youth programme founded in the United Kingdom in 1956 by the Duke of Edinburgh, which has since expanded to 144 nations worldwide.

Under the guidance of the Air League’s Queensland Award Leader, Squadron Captain Biggs, five of these promising individuals planned, prepared, and participated in a 20km hike amidst the vast expanse of a 3000km cropping farm located 42 km outside the picturesque town of Dalby. 

As they started their hike from the farmhouse, the cadets were greeted with a 3000-acre cropping farm and an exceptionally hot day.  Throughout the expedition, the cadets encountered numerous obstacles that tested their skills and teamwork. 

They navigated through irrigation channels, walked along the rocky creek, and conquered steep, slippery inclines of dam walls. These physical challenges not only strengthened their physical fitness but also fostered a sense of self-belief and the capacity to overcome hurdles. They learned in a very practical way about self-care, hydration and resting in shaded areas.

As daylight transitioned into night, the cadets gathered around the campfire, eagerly sharing stories, laughter, and creative hiking meals. The adults provided guidance, sharing their knowledge of survival skills, first aid, navigation and safety in nature. The second night was the most memorable event of the camp, with a massive storm hitting the campsite and the cadets seeking shelter in the farmhouse for the rest of the night. 

The cadets would like to thank the adult leaders for their unwavering commitment to safety and growth. Their dedication and expertise were instrumental in making this remarkable experience possible.

Manly Squadron Gliding Weekend 2024

Over the last weekend of February, the Manly Squadron visited the Southern Tablelands Gliding Club just north of Goulburn for an exhilarating gliding weekend.

With the members arriving by bus on Saturday morning, everyone was keen to get the gliders out and get their heads into the clouds. The cadets were so keen to fly that they left the campsite setup up to the Officers and parents!

The day started with low cloud cover, so the cadets received a safety briefing from the pilot before being shown how to transport the gliders safely to the launching point. 

From here, they learned how to assist with launching a glider and how to retrieve it after a successful landing. By this time, the clouds had lifted, and the flying soon commenced! 

The young cadets didn’t just fly; they all took turns helping with each task: launching a gliding, recovering the winch rope, recovering a glider, and helping the winch operator, all under the supervision of experienced gliding club instructors. 

Some of the older cadets even had the chance to try their hand at the controls—what an unforgettable experience!

After the gliders were put away for the day, the members settled in for dinner and later, some night games on the Grass Strip. Finally, they turned in for the night in their tents at the end of the runway.

On Sunday morning, the camp woke to early morning fog, the perfect time for breakfast and a safety briefing. The cadets again helped bring the gliders to the launch point for the morning. Once the fog burnt off, the gliders were in the air, taking a small break in the middle of the day to swap runways with the changing wind and weather. Some parents also had the opportunity to experience a flight in the glider.

In total, 23 cadets, Officers, and parents took to the skies under the guidance of skilled Southern Tablelands Gliding Club instructors. With 44 thrilling flights, with cadets, Officers, and parents all flying, the excitement was truly palpable!

A massive thank you to the dedicated instructors at the Southern Tablelands Gliding Club for their expertise and guidance throughout the weekend. Your passion for gliding is truly inspiring!

Vale Mrs Edna Bell

It is with regret that we advise of the passing, on Wednesday, 21st February 2023, of Mrs. Edna Bell, an honorary member of the Australian Air League Inc. and the wife of Comr. R. C. Bell, OAM, LM, DSA, MSA.

The funeral service will be conducted on Thursday, 29th February 2024, at 1300 hours at the West Chapel at the Rookwood Cemetery, Hawthorne Ave, Rookwood, NSW 2141

Australian Air League members are invited to attend in full uniform. Officers will wear decorations.

Details can be found in the FRO below.

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Federal Routine Order 03/2024 158.74 KB 71 downloads

Vale Mrs Edna Bell …

Federal Cadet of the Year 2024

The Federal Cadets of the Year assessments were held online again this year.

This occurred on Sunday, 11th February 2024, and the following candidates are congratulated for being nominated by their respective Groups and for all putting in a strong performance on the day, and all can be considered winners.

The candidates were:
Candidates for the Female Award

  • Corporal Willow Plenty of Victoria Group;
  • Corporal Neha Krishna Kumar of Queensland Group;
  • Corporal Kit Yi Lee of South Australia Group;
  • Leading Cadet Aura Bhatti of New South Wales Group.

Candidates for the Male Award

  • Sergeant Justian Stoican of Victoria Group;
  • Sergeant Alexander Finnegan of New South Wales Group;
  • Corporal Lochie Anderson of South Australia Group.

A similar rigorous process was used as in previous years, again using the capabilities of MS Teams and from the comfort of the candidates’ (and assessors’) homes. In one case, one of this year’s candidates was at a family wedding in India and took part in MS Teams from there in uniform.

The selection process included the following contributing components which were weighed to produce a result.

  • Knowledge Test 15%
  • Inspection 10%
  • Presentation 30%
  • Interview 35%

For the presentation, each candidate prepared a fifteen-minute audio-visual presentation delivered to the activity coordinator (Acting Federal Education Commissioner, Gp Comr. Brendan Willard) a week before the event and marked by members of Federal Staff. The presentations were all well done, and candidates were congratulated on the quality of the preparation and execution of that task.

As usual, it was a tough decision for the selection panel, with all of the candidates impressing in one way or another. They represented both their Squadrons and Groups very well.

At the end of the afternoon, the results were announced:

Federal Cadet of the Year (Female)

  • Corporal Neha Krishna Kumar of Queensland Group;

Federal Cadet of the Year (Male)

  • Sergeant Alexander Finnegan of New South Wales Group;

Acting Chief Commissioner Greg O’Brien, MSA congratulated all the candidates and especially the winners and runners-up on their great efforts and achievements. He further congratulated Group Commissioner Willard, Commissioner Grinter, DSA, MSA on the organisation of the day and Chief Commissioner King, MSA for stepping in at the last minute, he also thanked everyone who assisted with the assessments.

As, for obvious reasons, no presentation could take place on the day – certificates, badges and trophies will be presented at an appropriate opportunity in the not-too-distant future.

Australian Air League Flying Camp 2024

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.

First Solo – Air Activities Camp 2024

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. 

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