Forest Lake Gliding Weekend 2023

Picture this: a crisp Saturday morning, the sun shining high above the horizon and the sounds of excitement echoing through the air. A group of Australian Air League Forest Lake Squadron cadets unified in one goal – to conquer the skies. This was the scene at Boonah Gliding Club last weekend as our cadets took part in a thrilling gliding adventure.

The excitement was palpable as the cadets gathered around the gliders, eagerly waiting for their turn to take to the skies. The club’s instructors were friendly and knowledgeable, taking the time to explain the delicate and intricate workings of the gliding machines. From the basics of take-off and landing to more advanced manoeuvres, the cadets were briefed on what to expect on their maiden flights.

The anticipation intensified as the first cadets prepared to take off. You could hear a pin drop as the glider released from its towline gracefully soared into the sky. The pilots expertly controlled the gliders, easily navigating the wind currents and maintaining a steady altitude.

The views over Boonah were breathtaking as the cadets glided quietly through the air. The rolling hills below were a beautiful patchwork of greens and browns with pockets of blue scattered throughout, a sight that left many a cadet awestruck.

The Boonah Gliding Club provided an unforgettable weekend for our cadets. They were the epitome of professionalism, ensuring every cadet had the time of their life and left with a newfound appreciation for the skies. It was an experience that will remain etched in their memories forever.

Here’s to the next adventure in the skies!

Qld Air Museum Open Day 2023

On Saturday, 15th April, the Queensland Air Museum, Caloundra Qld, hosted a Women in Aviation Open Day that provided a unique opportunity to inspire, educate and recruit girls and women interested in aviation careers.

The Queensland Air Museum showcases Australian aviation history, with over 80 restored aircraft on display and dozens of aero engines. The day was hosted by a wide range of personnel with varied and long experience in aviation.

One of the highlights was the discussion panel with speakers covering a wide range of aviation experiences, including

  • Julie Hammer AM CSC – Air Vice-Marshal (Ret’d)
  • Lauren Jones – CASA/Wings Young Aviator of the Year
  • Naomi McQueen – Air Traffic Controller
  • Deborah Lawrie – Australia’s first Female Airline Pilot
  • Anita Moore – Westpac Lifesaver Rescue Helicopter Service

For those who couldn’t attend, the panel discussion can also be found online here.

The Australian Air League was invited to participate and cadets and officers from Squadrons across southeast Queensland attended and had a great day with some cool and unique experiences. Squadron Sergeant Biggs from Forest Lake Squadron was invited to start the engine of the Max Holste MH.1521 Broussard – a 1950s French six-seat utility monoplane, providing appropriately loud background noise to those in attendance!

All those who attended were privileged to hear the stories of some influential women in our modern Aviation industry who have worked hard to pave the way for women to venture into any area of Aviation they desire. 

Women in Aviation 2023 – Forest Lake Sqn

On a stormy Wednesday evening in March, Forest Lake Squadron of the Australian Air League held its annual Women in Aviation Night, which has proven to be a big hit with cadets and adults alike and a regular feature on the Squadron calendar. 

Each year the Squadron is privileged to hear from women in various aviation and aerospace roles, from international airline and domestic pilots, Flight Test Systems Specialists to Loadmasters and Engineers and this year was no different. 

The evening got off to a rocky start with a large microburst passing over the airfield and the Officers trying to reconfigure the hangar and aircraft now parked outside. Luckily it cleared within 15 minutes, providing a picturesque backdrop for our invited guests and speakers. 

The first speaker was Erin Douglas, who is a flying instructor at the nearby Redcliffe Airport. Erin was initially fearful of flying; however, she was determined to beat her fear, and after a trial flight, she has never looked back! From that start, today she is now a flying instructor and is teaching student pilots the art of learning to fly aircraft. 

Erin had the cadets enthralled with amazing tales of the many aircraft she has flown in and the multiple jobs she has held across the aviation industry so far; she inspired the cadets to pursue an aviation career, which may not even be the traditional pilot role. 

Erin will also soon appear in an upcoming documentary called “Touch the Sky”, which follows eight Australian women overcoming barriers and getting to where they want to be – flying. 

These women include mothers, daughters, influencers, and refugees who together share what it takes to overcome internal expectations and external pressures to take to the skies. Some are just beginning their aviation journey while others are further along, but all want to encourage more female participation in an industry they have come to love.

To learn more about this documentary, visit the website at

With the cadets still buzzing from Erin’s presentation, the cadets were then joined by SGT Jaci, who is an Air Movements member with the Royal Australian Air Force.

Jaci explained to the cadets some of the many tasks that are involved with her job as an Air Movements member, such as how cargo and passengers are prepared and briefed before a flight, how pallets of cargo are built and weighed, then loaded onto aircraft and communicated to the flight crew who then enter the weights into the aircraft computer and make sure it is all reflected accurately. Jaci also explained how she is responsible for refuelling aircraft, including the C-130 Hercules and C-17 Globemaster.

Some of the more interesting experiences she shared included moving a Role 2 Medical Hospital from Vietnam to South Sudan and loading Australian Army helicopters into the back of a C-17 Globemaster transport to be flown quickly to where they are needed.

The night was rounded off by a presentation by Dr Carmel, who is an Aviation Medical Officer within the Royal Australian Air Force. 

Dr Carmel discussed the pathway to medicine in the Air Force from her time at school, through her medical training, to practising winching operations off a rescue helicopter and flying with the Roulettes as their Doctor and deploying on operations worldwide.

As with previous years, the night was a great success. The cadets and parents of Forest Lake Squadron wish to thank all the inspirational speakers that generously donated their time to come along to talk to the cadets about their experiences.

NSW Air Activities Flying Camp 2023

In January the NSW Group of the Australian Air League held its annual 9-day flying camp at the Air Activities Centre located at Camden Airport, southwest of Sydney, designed to provide cadets with the opportunity to kick start their flying training. With 32 student pilots from 11 Squadrons across NSW, the recent 2023 camp was the biggest camp held to date!

Cpl Toby Ong of Canterbury Sqn congratulated by instructor Charles Droudis after flying his first solo in VH-LRA
Cpl Toby Ong of Canterbury Sqn congratulated by instructor Charles Droudis after flying his first solo in VH-LRA

As with previous years, cadets came into camp with a wide range of flying experience. For some, this was their first camp where they got to experience the taste of flight. In contrast, for others, it was an opportunity to build on their training from previous camps and to catch up with friends from last year.

Cadets and Officers celebrating the end of camp

One of the returning student pilots was Sqn.Sgt. Lara Wilbow from Doyalson Squadron on the Central Coast. When asked what goal she had hoped to achieve at the camp, she told us, “I hoped to achieve my training area solo, which I did today! I flew out to Warragamba Dam and then back via Bringelly, which was really exciting. My next goal will be to complete my Recreational Pilot’s License.” 

For cadets who are thinking about attending the camp, it’s a really good way to kick-start your flying training.

Sqn.Sgt. Lara Wilbow, Doyalson Sqn.

“For cadets who are thinking about attending the camp, it’s a really good way to kick-start your flying training. So far, I have flown 7 hours during the camp, there are plenty of instructors to help with questions, and you get to spend time and talk to other people with a similar interest to you.”

For cadet Alora Clark and L/Cdt. Ethan Lobwein-Caron of Sutherland Shire, this was their first flying camp. Ethan’s inspiration for flying was his father, “My dad was a commercial pilot and instructor and has been very supportive of me; for a career, I am looking to become an aeronautical engineer whilst also completing my pilot’s license.”

Alora only joined the Air League last year, “One of my friends was already in the Air League and recommended that I join, soon after I went on a Squadron camp and did a trial instructional flight, which was also my first time in a light aircraft! I decided to come to the flying camp, and I’ve done 5 hours of flying training so far.”

Student pilots pose with their favourite aircraft, Cessna-152 VH-SOX
Student pilots pose with their favourite aircraft, Cessna-152 VH-SOX

When asked about her most memorable flight so far, she quickly answered, “When I learned about stalling! I was a bit nervous, but the instructor showed me how to recover and keep the aircraft under control.”

“It’s been great, meeting cadets from other Squadrons who have the same interest. The camp staff are amazing and take care of you, and the instructors are really helpful too. I would recommend it for any cadets looking to learn to fly.”

The camp staff are amazing and take care of you, and the instructors are really helpful too. I would recommend it for any cadets looking to learn to fly

Cadet Alora Clark, Sutherland Shire Sqn

With the addition of three cross-hired aircraft to the Centre’s fleet of two Cessnas and a Piper Warrior, the cadets achieved some impressive statistics for the nine days:

  • 191 Flights
  • 201.1 Flight Hours
  • 482 Total Landings (Including touch and goes)
  • 1,683 Litres of fuel burnt.
  • Most flights in a day – 30

Some of the achievements during the camp include:

First Solo

  • Lachlan Haack – Camden Sqn
  • Elliot Powell – Manly Squadron
  • Toby Ong – Canterbury Sqn

Area Solo

  • Lara Wilbow – Doyalson Sqn

Recreational Pilot License

  • Adam Glowacki – Sutherland Shire Sqn
The Air League’s C52 VH-SOX
The Air League’s C-152 VH-SOX

All of this would not have been possible without the help of the instructors, engineers, and camp staff who volunteer their time to train cadets, maintain aircraft, and look after cadets for the week. 

To ensure that the camp ran smoothly and the cadets could maximise their training, the staff at the camp was expanded this year. It included eight camp staff and a roster of twenty volunteer instructors to provide flying instruction. For several instructors, this was also their first camp, such as Michael Kornaus.

“I started in 2018 doing my Commercial Pilot’s License full-time on the Gold Coast, along with a multi-engine instrument rating and an instructor rating. Unfortunately, COVID happened pretty much straight after I graduated, which threw a spanner in the works, and I wasn’t able to do any flying during the lockdown.”

“Last year, I saw the call out for volunteer instructors for the Air League, so I applied, and after doing a check ride and renewing my instructor rating, I drove down for the camp. It’s been really busy; I’ve done 17 hours on the camp so far and should do about 20 hours all up.”

“I’ve really enjoyed the camp and appreciate what the Air League does for the cadets and the new instructors like myself.”

Federal Cadet of the Year 2023

Cadet of the Year

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

This occurred on Sunday 26th February 2023, 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.

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