Air League Cadets into Orbit

Cadets of the Australian Air League’s South Australia Group recently had the opportunity to take the Air League’s motto, “Free from the Bonds of the Earth”, to heart when they spoke live to NASA Astronaut Warren Hoburg as he orbited above the Earth onboard the International Space. 

The link-up occurred on the evening of August 25th at the Australian Space Discovery Centre in Adelaide and was attended by cadets, officers, parents, supporters from the South Australia Group, and Australian Space Discovery Centre representatives. The Australian Space Discovery Centre opened in Adelaide in 2020 at the headquarters of the Australian Space Agency and aims to inspire the next generation of the space workforce with stories of innovation, curiosity, and technology. 

Using radio equipment provided by NASA, contact was made by members of the Amateur Radio on the International Space Group (ARISS) as the station passed over Europe at an altitude of 400km. Travelling at over 7km/s, the cadets had a short window of opportunity before the ISS went out of range. 

In preparation for the event, the cadets of South Australia Group took part in a competition where they each submitted questions that they would like to ask the astronauts. Following a selection process, 20 cadets were chosen to each ask a question of the astronauts. The questions posed by the cadets were interesting and varied, ranging from what you can see from space, what are the future plans for the ISS, and whether astronauts can eat ice cream in space! 

The cadets spoke to NASA astronaut Warren Hoburg, who had launched to the ISS as pilot of NASA’s SpaceX Crew Dragon spacecraft on the 2nd March 2023. With a degree in Aeronautics and Astronautics from MIT and a Doctorate in Electrical Engineering and Computer Science from UC Berkeley, Warren (“Woody” to his fellow astronauts) reported for duty with NASA in 2017 and, in his first mission, has already conducted two EVAs where he helped install new solar arrays to help power the ISS. 

In December 2020, Woody was also announced as one of the eighteen NASA astronauts selected as part of the Artemis Program for a lunar mission in 2024. 

Whilst the cadet spoke to Woody via radio, the event was live streamed on the Internet, allowing cadets in other states and members of the public to watch and listen, with amateur radio enthusiasts from as far away as Germany following along. 

The motto of the Australian Air League, A Vinculo Terrae – “Free from the Bonds of the Earth” was dreamt up in an age where pioneers like Sir Charles Kingsford Smith and Bert Hinkler were still taking to the air in flimsy canvas and wire aircraft, but today it has certainly come true for these cadets. 

Our thanks go to NASA and astronaut Warren Hoburg, the Australian Space Agency for making the Australian Space Discovery Centre available to us, and to the Amateur Radio on the International Space Station group (ARISS) for making this event possible. 

Serving the Community

Living in the Southern Highlands, bushfires greatly impact their community and so many of the Officers and parent of the Australian Air League Southern Highlands Squadron are also members of the local Rural Fire Service. Many were out battling the fires whilst their own homes were under threat. These volunteers put their own safety at risk for others every time they are called out and many were battling the fires for weeks.

One of the core aims of the Air League is to promote good citizenship and community service is actively encouraged with cadets recognised for this with a series of Community Awareness Awards. The Officers and parents at Southern Highlands also encourage the Air League cadets to get involved with the Rural Fire Service – giving to the community being a core value the Air League instils

Another Air League Officer who has been active in fighting the recent bushfires is Second Officer Daniel Oliver of South Australia Group. Daniel is just 19 years old and has been volunteering with the Country Fire Service at Athelstone and Yankalilla for 4 years.

Daniel joined the Air League as a young 11-year-old cadet and is now a Squadron Officer with Port Adelaide Squadron. With his interest in aviation Daniel was providing air support to water bombing aircraft at the recent Cuddle Creek fire.

Young Leaders in South Australia

Eight years ago Daniel Oliver joined the Australian Air League as a young 11 year old cadet interested in aviation and the industry it revolves around. Earlier this month he was promoted as an Officer of the Air League with the rank of Second Officer.

On this day he also had the honour to award a cadet Sergeant from his squadron with her ‘Student Pilot’ epaulettes, this recognises her achievement with the Air League and Aviation.

Nothing is as self rewarding than being apart of an organisation that fosters the interests of aviation with in the youth of Australia.

2019 Flying Scholarships for South Australia

Congratulations to Sgt Matthew Jacks of Gawler Airfield Squadron, Cpls Preethika Ganiger and Braedon Medder of Port Adelaide Squadron who were all awarded $1000 scholarships by the Group Council recently.

Preethika and Braedon are seen here with Gp Exec Comm Martin Ball at the South Australian Air Museum and Matthew is seen with Sqn Capt Mark Borchard at Gawler Airfield. 

Matthew will use his scholarship at the Adelaide Soaring Club located at Gawler Airfield, Preethika and Braedon will use their scholarships at Adelaide Biplanes which is located at Aldinga Aerodrome. 

These scholarships were made possible with the assistance of the Sir Keith and Sir Ross Smith Fund. We all wish you the very best and hope that these scholarships continue to encourage your interest in aviation. Well done to you all.

Port Adelaide NCO Awarded Flying Scholarship

Corporal Preethika Ganiger from the Port Adelaide Squadron of the Australian Air League  was recently awarded a flying scholarship through Recreational Aviation Australia (

Preethika completed the application, and attached the supporting reference letters including one from South Australia Wing OC Gp.Comr. Martin Ball.

The application also required an essay of no more than 1000 words, but of this requirement Preethika said, “I mean how could you write something like wanting to achieve a childhood dream in just 1000 words? Impossible.”

After submitting the application Preethika then had to wait 4 long months.

Finally, in July she received a letter advising she was successful in beating out 81 other entrants, in obtaining the scholarship and is now well on her way in achieving her flying goals.

Reflecting on this achievement Preethika said, “As a cadet of the Australian Air league, the coaching and knowledge of Aviation and air experiences and support from the officers and educators are true key to achieve this scholarship.”

All of us here at Port Adelaide Squadron, wish her the very best in her pursuit of her flying dream.

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