Flight Lieutenant Simon McKay at the controls of an RNZAF P-3K2 Orion surveillance aircraft on exercise in Guam.
21 August 2017
A third-generation Wairarapa pilot has added a new twist to the family tradition by practising Anti-Submarine Warfare (ASW) on an exercise in Guam.
Flight Lieutenant Simon McKay, a former Rathkeale College student, was a member of a Royal New Zealand Air Force (RNZAF) detachment that took part in Exercise Guamex 17, a two-week Guam-based training exercise, at the beginning of August.
The group consisted of an Orion P-3K2 surveillance aircraft and a support team that practised anti-submarine warfare skills alongside forces from the United States and the Japanese Self-Defence Force.
Flight Lieutenant McKay, 26, comes from a family that has aviation gas running through its veins. His father and grandfather are both pilots, as are three uncles and two cousins.
One of the uncles flew for the RNZAF in the 1970s and 1980s, and it was the attraction of a different kind of flying that drew Flight Lieutenant McKay to the RNZAF.
After being awarded the RNZAF Sword of Honour for excellence on his Wings course, he spent time gaining flying experience with Air Nelson, before moving back to the RNZAF with No. 5 Squadron and the P-3K2 Orion surveillance aircraft.
Having spent time patrolling the waters of New Zealand and the South Pacific, he had been looking forward to his first real taste of warfighting in an exercise environment.
“Conducting anti-submarine warfare requires some of the most accurate and demanding flying skills, and it was exciting to be doing it somewhere quite different,” he said.
Flight Lieutenant McKay has added this experience to the satisfaction of conducting successful search and rescue missions, and is looking forward to continuing the training and practice on the path towards becoming an aircraft captain – and maintaining the family tradition.