Summer success at the Walsh

The flags are lowered for the last time on the 51st Walsh Memorial Scout Flying School.

Fifty years since the first summer flying camp was held during January 1967 at Matamata Airfield, situated just north of the small Waikato town of Waharoa on SH27, the 51st Walsh Memorial Scout Flying School (generally known as the “Walsh”) again achieved many successes.

The school, named in honour of the early aviation pioneering brothers Leo and Vivian Walsh, this year accommodated 44 ab initio and 26 returned students, plus two student staff members who undertook their flying tasks while at the airfield. As in past years, these students all achieved so much, both individually and collectively, during the two weeks they were camped together on the airfield.

A fleet of 16 two-seat aeroplanes, Cessna 152s and Piper PA-38 Tomahawks, plus one four-seat Cessna 172, were used for training. Two evenings of night flying were scheduled, but weather conditions delayed these and in the end only one night was entirely suitable. Because of that it was a very busy 2½ hours of flying that evening!

The opportunity for a number of students and staff to take familiarisation flights in aircraft provided by their operators had people queuing for sorties in a Diamond DA40 Diamond Star supplied by the Massey University School of Aviation, a DHC-1 Chipmunk, an Ercoupe, a Citabria, an Airtourer, a CT-4 Airtrainer and a Nanchang CJ-6, with some giving students the thrill of sampling aerobatics.

Unfortunately, weather conditions this year on the designated day prevented members of the Tiger Moth Club from giving some students and a few of the staff the chance to fly in open-cockpit aeroplanes. So guys, please come back to future schools as you will be welcomed with open arms if you can provide the same opportunity that previous school participants have experienced!

A flypast by an RNZAF C-130H(NZ) Hercules was an early highlight in the school calendar this year, while visitors on Family Day were a RNZAF Beechcraft B200 King Air and NH90-TTH helicopter, made available for viewing while parked on the ground, along with a flying display by a Beechcraft T-6C Texan II.

This year was another busy school, with six air traffic controllers handling almost 8000 aircraft movements during the days they were on watch, including the busiest day that saw over 1000 movements. Although the numbers of movements handled were down when compared with some of the other schools, that was caused by this year’s weather conditions.

Still, well done to my ATC colleagues this year—Kate, Jason, Steve, Janet and Peter, plus James for his work leading up to the school and his oversight during the fortnight-long camp...


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The New Zealand Defence Force’s air transport team in the Middle East has flown the equivalent of five round-the-world trips since its mission began in June, delivering supplies and personnel for coalition operations in the region.

Currently an RNZAF C-130H Hercules and a 32-strong detachment have flown 45 missions, including NVG flights, to Iraq and Afghanistan. The NZDF air transport team has also maintained a near-perfect mission record, having flown all but 2 percent of the missions assigned by the Australian Defence Force air mobility task group, of which it forms a part...

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