Fleet Air Arm ranks bolstered by newest pilots

This article has photo gallery Published on Mrs Peta Magorian (author), Mr Chris Kershaw (photographer)

Location(s): Bullsbrook, Western Australia

Topic(s): 723 Squadron

CAPT Shane Craig, Deputy Commander Fleet Air Arm, presents ASLT Jack Fiddis with the award for 'Aerobatics' as Her Excellency, The Honourable Kerry Sanderson, Governor of Western Australia looks on. The graduate of each pilots course that displays the highest level of aerobatic skills is awarded the Government Aircraft Factory Trophy. (photo: Chris Kershaw)
CAPT Shane Craig, Deputy Commander Fleet Air Arm, presents ASLT Jack Fiddis with the award for 'Aerobatics' as Her Excellency, The Honourable Kerry Sanderson, Governor of Western Australia looks on. The graduate of each pilots course that displays the highest level of aerobatic skills is awarded the Government Aircraft Factory Trophy.

Navy’s newest pilots gained their wings recently at Royal Australian Air Force Base Pearce in Western Australia.

Lieutenants Aaron Cochran, Benjamin Flood, Peter Jacobs and Sub Lieutenant Jack Fiddis joined a number of Air Force pilot officers who graduated from Number 2 Flight Training School on 2 September.

Governor of Western Australia, Her Excellency Honorary Air Commodore the Honourable Kerry Sanderson, AC said she was honoured to witness the Australian Defence Force’s newest pilots being awarded their wings.

“All of these graduates share a common goal and purpose; that is, to serve their nation and to uphold the traditions and values of the Australian Defence Force,” she said.

Deputy Commander Fleet Air Arm, Captain Shane Craig, said the graduation ceremony, like the many before it, represented a milestone in the careers of the graduating officers.

“It’s great to see young officers who have been through an extensive training system that is designed to take them from something where they know little about aviation, to flying military aircraft,” Captain Craig said.

“That is a very demanding task and it’s fantastic to see them here with their family, friends and instructors who have helped and supported them throughout the duration of their course.”

During the graduation ceremony, a number of awards were handed out to those pilots who excelled in various aspects of their training.

Most Improved Pilot during the course went to Lieutenant Flood, while the Ground School Award, which recognises the graduate with the highest aggregate of academic marks, went to Lieutenant Cochran who said he was excited about what the future holds for him.

“It’s a really great feeling to have successfully completed the course and now I’m looking forward to moving to the south coast [of NSW] and beginning my career in Navy aviation,” he said.

Governor Sanderson echoed this sentiment saying the future was bright for the graduating pilots.

“I see today’s graduation not as an end but as a beginning,” she said.
“On behalf of all Australians I wish you all every success both now and in the future – fly safe.”

All four Navy pilots are posted to 723 Squadron based at HMAS Albatross in Nowra, New South Wales.