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. 

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.”

Leeton-Narrandera Squadron Open Day

On the weekend of the 11th and 12th of February, the NSW Air Activities Centre flew out to the Riverina to support Leeton-Narrandera Squadron.

Their visit coincided with a Squadron open day which Squadron OC Robert Manning described as “Exceeding all expectations”!

The Squadron there is set to soar to new heights with over 20 young people dropping in to learn more about the Air League and while this happening they were busy running scenic joy flights for all in attendance taking in the sights of the Murrumbidgee River and surrounding districts.

All Squadrons in NSW are reminded to get in touch with us (airactivities.nsw@airleague.com.au) to book a flying day either at Camden Airport or for those located further afield at an airport near you!

SA Wing Gliding Day

Over two beautiful days this month, 30 cadets from the South Australia Wing of AAL flew went gliding with the Adelaide Soaring Club located at the Gawler Airfield. 

A number of the cadets were new to gliding and there were smiles all around. 

Three Adelaide Soaring Club gliders ready for the day's flying at Gawler

Gp Comr Ball said “They were both fantastic days. Adelaide Soaring Club is extremely well organised and professional and provided absolute first rate flying experiences for the cadets.  It was great to see the confidence of the cadets being eager to do some exciting acrobatics”

Photos of the day can be seen online here

 

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