Date: 12 January 2019
Hi everyone I’m Conor, currently a cadet at the New Zealand Academy nearing the end of my New Zealand Diploma in Aviation.
This will see me gain a category C Instructors Rating along with a New Zealand CPL and ME/IR, and hopefully a job with L3 in Hamilton. I am 20 years old and have grown up in Hamilton my whole life, but spent 5 months in Argentina during my penultimate year of secondary school on an AFS exchange. Growing up I was incredibly privileged to have done a lot of travelling overseas with my family and this is how my love for aviation came to life.
New Zealand is an awesome place to learn to fly, we have such beautiful landscapes and so many geographical features it’s hard to get lost!! The best place, in my opinion, is up the east coast to Great Barrier Island on a VFR navigation flight - the views are spectacular! Tracking up Coromandel you see so many blues and greens, the contrast of the ocean and land is quite something, and the beaches of Whitianga and Pauanui along the coastline are breathtaking. Hamilton’s central location makes it super easy to go to many different places and get a wide variety of flying experience landing at different aerodromes. There is always somewhere new to go and explore. Tauranga is very popular as it’s a quick 20 minute flight from NZHN, and is a controlled aerodrome, so it has a nice amount of traffic of both VFR and IFR flights. The harbour view on landing is pretty awesome too.
The people that I’ve met whilst studying at L3 are what have made my time so great. The fact that there are so many people from all over the world doing what you are doing is super inspiring, and there is always someone to offer some help or an answer to your question. The passion for aviation around the place is contagious as you are always talking about it and learning new things, especially from some of the senior instructors. You’ll make some amazing friends from all over the world and meet some really interesting people, the the bond you have with your course mates grows stronger as you take on New Zealand together.
After the completion of my Instructor Rating, I will hopefully be offered a job with L3 and be based here in Hamilton where I will have a four year bond with the company in return for their financial contribution to my training (which is standard for all NZ Diploma cadets). I am excited to become an instructor and teach others, like myself, who are passionate about flying. Having the experience of being a student myself at L3, I know this will benefit me in my career. I’m looking forward to meeting lots of people from different parts of the world and making contacts for the future - as in this industry you never know where you might end up on a Friday night layover in 10 years. In the early phases of instructing, I will be teaching the more basic VFR lessons during the foundation phase of a cadet’s course but I hope to progress into the IFR side of instructing and the multi engine aircraft as this is what I have found to be the most interesting and pertinent to my airline career when it comes.
Because L3 train their students and instructors to such a high standard it is very common for us to gain employment with airlines after a few years of work experience, with the most common airlines being Air New Zealand, Cathay Pacific, Qantas, Virgin Australia, and JetStar. I myself would love to fly the ATRs for Air New Zealand but am also very interested in Cathay Pacific’s Second Officer program that would see my first airline job based in the bustling city of Hong Kong flying either the Boeing 777 or Airbus A350.
Good luck with your flying, take every opportunity and listen to every piece of advice you possibly can!