The RAAF prepares to welcome 14 new pilots after the last batch of students from the 2 Flying Training School at RAAF Base Pearce received their wings.
The “graduation ceremony” was celebrated on November 4 by flybys of the Pilatus PC-21 and Hawk 127 trainers and a parade led by the Western Australian Police Pipe Band.
Air Commander Australia Air Vice Marshall Darren Goldie told the new recruits he would “switch places with you in a minute” to relive his flying career.
“I need you to study hard, stay fit, get tough, show empathy, build a network, think innovatively, challenge the status quo, and stay curious professionally. Operation is probably closer than you think,” said AVM Goldie.
“I remember standing in front of my parents with my buddies on that parade ground. Soak it up – you will rarely walk as upright as you do today.”
No. 2 Flying Training School is the Air Force’s primary training institute.
Traditionally, the trainees flew the PC-9 single-engine, low-wing, tandem-seat turboprop. However, in 2019 the RAAF completed its transition to the more modern PC-21.
The PC-21 is unique in being able to train aspiring Top Guns from the start of their training to the finish and was designed to prepare recruits for fifth generation fighters such as the F-35.
The RAAF welcomed its first six – out of a planned 49 – at RAAF Base East Sale, Victoria in 2017, but has now also stationed them at RAAF Base Pearce, WA.
Its delivery was the centerpiece of the Armed Forces’ new AIR 5428 Pilot Training System project, which is designed to last for the next 30 years.
Australia still has 33 Hawk 127 lead-in fighters, which will be upgraded before their final withdrawal in 2031.
Four graduates were honored for their achievements during their studies:
- Flight Lieutenant Harrison Gray was awarded the Fit-to-Fight Physical Training Award and the BP (Australia) Ltd Trophy for top academic marks.
- Pilot Officer Matt Daniec was awarded the G Scutt/E Davey Memorial Trophy for excellence in instrument flight skills and Pilot Officer Michael Develin was awarded the Returned Services League Trophy for leadership.
- Pilot Officer Nathan Reed was awarded the Defense Force Welfare Association award for the highest level of navigational ability, the RAAF Association (WA Division) Trophy for “Best Improved” and the SJ Goble Memorial Trophy for Most Able Pilot.
- Pilot Officer Nathan Reed won the Pilatus Aircraft Trophy as a course dux.