“Full throttle… keep the nose pointed straight down the runway… 80 knots, rotate… pull up to 15 degrees… very good.”
And so the flight began. It could have been a real training flight on a Boeing 737-800 taking off out of Auckland International Airport, however, the members of the Otamatea Aviation Academy were recent guests of Auckland-based FlyaJet Flight Simulator.
The morning began with a briefing by Captain Len Hill who went through the details of the flight deck and the way the aircraft would perform with different control inputs by the pilots.
Then the time came when the door was opened and the first academy member was promoted to Pilot in Command and took the left hand seat.
Sitting in the right had seat was the training captain, Roy Netto, who very quickly put the new pilots at ease with his friendly and easily understood instructions.
Eight of the 12 members have already completed the first stage of basic flying with the Otamatea Aero Club based at Ruawai, so to most of them this had a familiar feel to it, only on a much bigger scale.
“I am happy with that,” said academy member Ly Sang Kim when she climbed out of the left hand seat, having flown from to Whenuapai Military Base to Auckland International Airport. “I am pleased that I did not crash!”
These feelings were shared by every one of the academy members and the sense of achievement was clear to see.
Director Peter Cross, a highly qualified pilot himself, made the academy very welcome and gave every encouragement to everyone to look at a career in aviation.
Otamatea Aviation Academy operates from a purpose-built building at Otamatea High School. Every Wednesday, the twelve members gather to work on the construction of a replica Piper Cub aircraft and the restoration of a WWII Mk5 Auster aircraft. The details of the work can be viewed on Facebook – simply type in Otamatea Aviation Academy and follow their progress.
■ Are you interested in aviation, a retired aircraft engineer or pilot and would like to visit the academy? Contact Otamatea High School on (09) 431 8230 or academy director Peter Cross on 027 278 7422.