NSW Group Ceremonial Parade 2023

On Sunday, 28th May, cadets and Officers of the NSW Group of the Australian Air League participated in the Group’s annual Ceremonial Parade, marching through the streets of Sydney from Martin Place to Metcalfe Park, Pyrmont. This year’s parade saw just over 300 members representing 18 Squadrons across NSW – the furthest travelled being the City of Canberra Squadron.

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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.”

Air League Parades through Sydney

The NSW Group of the Australian Air League recently took to the streets of Sydney for the League’s annual Ceremonial Parade, the first major event since the lifting of COVID restrictions which saw most major events in 2020 cancelled.

The parade saw the cadets and Officers march through the city CBD to the Royal Botanic Gardens for the presentation of awards with the Reviewing Officer Her Excellency the Honourable Margaret Beazley AC QC Governor of New South Wales.

This year was the 84th Annual Ceremonial Parade for the NSW Group and with Squadrons from across NSW in attendance it was great to see the Air League out in the community again.

Women In Aviation Day 2021 – Bankstown Airport

Last weekend the female Cadets of New South Wales Group were invited to attend and event at Bankstown Airport to hear from women who worked in all areas of aviation. Cadet Zoë Baker Moss from Marrickville Sqn was among the cadets who participated and found the day inspiring.

On the 6th of March, I attended the IWD Women in Aviation even at Bankstown Airport that was organised by the Women in Aviation Australia Chapter and Sydney Metro Airports. After arriving  I met up with a other girls, from both my own squadron and other Sydney squadrons and we settled down in the terminal for the speeches.

The presenters were nothing short of phenomenal, to say the least. Most excitingly, they were not all about flying, flying, flying, although I think that is one of the best parts of the aviation industry. Instead, they were given by women in all fields of aviation, and they recounted the incredible journeys they had experienced to get where they are today. We learnt all about working in the Air Traffic Control Towers, received an insight into the management side of aviation, and even heard from a girl around my age, who had persisted with her love of flying despite constant roadblocks and barriers. We also heard about the wild adventures of an aeronautical engineer and her exciting experiments in high speed flight. And, of course, we heard from some amazing pilots and their journey towards a Commercial Pilot’s Licence.

Despite coming from a wide range of different perspectives, all the presenters had one thing in common. Their constant devotion and dedication to the thing they loved: aviation. This was one of the major things that I found so powerful about the convention. There is something about all the incredible things they had all achieved that motivates me to do the very same thing, no matter what challenges I may face along the way.

After the speeches, came another exciting part of the day. Afternoon tea. Accompanied by fizzy drinks and some delicious cookies, we gathered around and got to chatting. Although the speeches had been extremely enlightening, even more questions had sprung into my head than to begin with. And, ever so kindly, the lovely ladies at the event were willing to answer all of my questions, big or small. By the end of the day, I, along with most of the other Air League girls, had a mouthful of biscuits, hands full of merchandise, and minds full of inspirations and dreams. Dreams that were becoming closer and closer to reality as the day went on. 

At the end of the three hours, it felt as if the day had flown by, and I was almost upset when my dad came to pick me up. I wanted to spend even more time chatting with the wonderful women I had met and maybe steal one more swig of Sprite. Still, I could not have been more thankful for all of the incredible speeches given at the event, and I am just as thankful to the incredible ladies I met. I aspire to be as moving and motivational as you one day and possibly be as involved in fostering greatness for women in aviation. 

To all the girls who missed out on the event, or to those who are dreaming of a life in the skies, my advice to you is “Choose to Challenge”. You are even stronger than you can imagine, and you mustn’t let anyone stand in between you and greatness. Let your heart lead the way, and you can achieve anything. As the Australian Air League motto A Vinculo Terrae  encourages, we can be ‘Free from the bonds of Earth’.  

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