Former Wanganui Collegiate pupil to showcase new helicopters at Air Show

20 March 2012

Former Wanganui Collegiate pupil, RNZAF Flight Lieutenant and helicopter pilot Charlie Beetham is looking forward to showcasing the RNZAF’s newest equipment at the Air Force Air Show in Ohakea on 31 March.

Born and breed in Dannevirke, Charlie says he’s been fortunate enough to land the Iroquois and Seasprite helicopters at his old country school in Weber — which he says — was an honour for him and a thrill for the kids.

Charlie’s currently based in Ohakea conducting Operational Training and Evaluation as aircraft captain on the newly arrived NH90 helicopter. He’s also developing the Pilot Conversion course for pilots converting to the NH90 from the UH-1H Iroquois and A109 helicopters.

Charlie spent eight months in the South of France at the Eurocopter Training Facility learning to fly the NH90 helicopter. This rates highly on his list of career highlights.

“It might sound a little clichéd but most of my time in the RNZAF has been one big highlight; from graduating to flying tours to East Timor and the Solomon Islands in the Iroquois, and a two year post to No. 6 Squadron flying the SH-2G Seasprite helicopter (which included a six month deployment around the South China Sea and Australia on HMNZS TE MANA).”

Charlie joined the Air Force in 1998. “My earliest memories are of wanting to fly, I couldn’t afford to pay for my own licence and my father told me the best training and opportunities were in the RNZAF,” he says.

Outside of work Charlie’s trying to play less rugby. “I used to be heavily involved in local Club and Provincial Rugby. The Air Force has encouraged me to keep playing competitive rugby as long as I could balance my Air Force commitments. During this time I played for the local Te Kawua Rugby Club and I was fortunate enough to represent Central Vikings 98 (Manawatu and Hawkes Bay), Manawatu NPC 2000, 02, (03, 04 Capt) and NZ Divisional XV 03, 04.”

Charlie will be at the Air Show, a member of the display team for the NH90 helicopter, the Air Force’s newest arrival.

To buy tickets to the Air Show go to and search Air Force Air Show.

For media enquires contact Todd O'Hara, Defence Communications Group on 021 186 4111

This page was last reviewed on 21 March 2012.