Teach to fly but not drive

The youngest microlight instructor in New Zealand is Ross Brodie, who was confirmed in this position on Monday 11 July. Ross is the son of well-known aviation industry leader Russell Brodie of Rangitata, South Canterbury, and is the fourth generation of flying Brodies on the farm. His great-grandfather, also Ross Brodie, flew in France during WWI.

A keen aviator from the start, in January Ross clocked up another first in New Zealand aviation history, flying 16 different aeroplanes solo on his 16th birthday, the minimum age a student is allowed to go solo. This is believed also to be a world first.

Brought up in a family that combines farming with serious aviation, Ross began to learn to fly with his father from the age of nine and became an accomplished pilot under that direction. He was naturally delighted to reach the legal age of 16 to finally fly solo and celebrated the occasion in a manner like no other.

With his new status as an instructor, Ross is legally permitted to instruct students to fly microlight aircraft and he does so in a family-owned RANS S6. The only restriction he faces is that his pupils must be evaluated by a senior instructor before they may fly solo.

Although he can teach people to fly, it’s a different story when it comes to driving a car—where Ross must be accompanied by a fully licensed motorist and carry L plates....


The south is jumping

Skydive Wanaka, based at Wanaka Airport, has been conditionally sold to Australian-owned Skydive The Beach Group for $10.4m.

While the aviation industry in many places appears to be on hold during an economic downturn, this is not true of the Southern Lakes region. Queenstown Airport goes from strength to strength and Alexandra Airport’s activities are expanding rapidly...

NZDF helicopter changeover

The last of the SH-2G(NZ) Seasprites has been retired, replaced by eight of these SH-2G(I) models. 

The retirement of the New Zealand Defence Force Seasprite SH-2G(NZ) naval helicopters was marked with a small celebration on 14 April as part of a change of command ceremony held at RNZAF Base Auckland. The NZ model helicopters will be replaced by eight of the newer SH-2G(I) model. 

The last flight of the NZ model took place a week later when the remaining aircraft returned from assisting the cyclone recovery operation in Fiji. The two Seasprites were flown off HMNZS Canterbury and returned to Whenuapai...

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