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!
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.
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.”
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 flyCadet 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:
- Lachlan Haack – Camden Sqn
- Elliot Powell – Manly Squadron
- Toby Ong – Canterbury Sqn
- Lara Wilbow – Doyalson Sqn
Recreational Pilot License
- Adam Glowacki – Sutherland Shire Sqn
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.”