FLTLT Matthew 'Freddy' Ferris at work in the cockpit of the RNZAF C-130
29 May 2013
Providing humanitarian aid is one of the Royal New Zealand Air Force's key tasks, and this week was no exception for pilot Flight Lieutenant (FLTLT) Matthew 'Freddy' Ferris who has just returned from a mission delivering a fire truck to the South Pacific.
Chuuk State, in the Federated States of Micronesia has seen a series of serious fires, that have caused damage to the State Legislative Chambers and a large tuna canning factory. There was a clear need to get a fire truck to the island.
"We flew to Chuuk to deliver a donated fire truck to the people on the remote island," said FLTLT Ferris.
"There are limited ways to get such a large fire engine to the Island. The C-130 Hercules is one of the only aircraft that could do it because it has a cargo space big enough to take the fire truck, and is agile enough to land on a small airfields in remote areas.
"It's a special experience to be able to help our neighbours like this."
Born in Invercargill, he attended St Theresa's School before moving to Dunedin where he was a pupil at St Bernadettes and then Kavanagh College.
FLTLT Ferris joined the Air Force straight from school in 2004, trained as a pilot, and later became an Instructor.
"I knew in my last year of school that I wanted to be a pilot," said FLTLT Ferris.
"I joined the Air Force so I could pursue that role and contribute to an organisation often involved in humanitarian efforts.
"It's the flying that I love and that I'm passionate about, but also it's the varied and worthwhile activities that make it really rewarding."
FLTLT Ferris says he is lucky to be able to do what he loves and his job has taken him around the world.
"I have flown as far south as Antarctica in support of the New Zealand Antarctic Science Program and north to Afghanistan supporting the New Zealand Provincial Reconstruction Team, and essentially everywhere in between.
"Every day is different."