Cadets go Bush for the Holidays

Cadets read map during Cadet Bushcraft Course
Cadets read a map during the Cadet Bushcraft Course

14 January 2015

While most 13-18 year olds relax during their school holidays, over 150 Air Training Corps (ATC) cadets from across New Zealand are learning to fly solo, navigate, and survive in the bush during the New Zealand Cadet Forces (NZCF) annual courses in Marlborough.

This year there are three courses running from 4–16 January, including a navigation course, a power flying course, and a bushcraft course.

During the navigation course 18 cadets are learning to plot flight plans (legs) over the Kaikoura coast, inland Marlborough, and down to Hanmer and the Sounds/Tasman areas. While plotting the legs they are also taking into account the weight of fuel, wind speed and direction, and other meteorological factors. The qualification counts toward the Private Pilot’s Licence, so is a highly sought prize.

The power flying course is open to 35 cadets who are learning to fly solo. Those who perform exceptionally well in this course may be selected for a Royal New Zealand Air Force (RNZAF) Flying Scholarship for 10 days at RNZAF Base Ohakea, hosted by the Pilot Training School.  This would include familiarisation flights in the new NH-90 helicopter and T6-C Texan II pilot training airframes.

The course commander for both of these aviation courses is Captain Alastair Rankin, who is a Marlborough College old boy and ex-member of No 27 (Blenheim) Squadron, Air Training Corps. He says he has the best job in the country, seeing amazing young folk achieving outstanding things every day.

As well as the aviation courses, NZCF are holding the Officer Bushcraft Course and the Cadet Bushcraft Course at Dip Flat camp near the Rainbow ski field. Over 100 cadets on this course are learning field first aid, campsite selection, group leadership, trip planning, water safety (river crossing techniques), risk management, interpreting weather patterns and navigation.

“These courses give cadets valuable life experiences and teach them skills that are transferable to a career in the RNZAF,” said Captain Rankin.

For more information please contact the Defence Communications Group on 021 487 980

This page was last reviewed on 22 January 2015.