Pilots win wings to take flight

South Western Times

Eight recreational pilots and six private pilots – including 17-year-old John Kennedy who is yet to qualify for his driver’s licence – will take to the sky after receiving their wings at a ceremony earlier this month .

Former Bunbury Aero Club commercial pilot student David Punch, who now trains with the Royal Australian Air Force, was the guest speaker at the ceremony and he talked about his current training experiences.

Daniel Loke was awarded the Chief Flying Instructor Award for being the most outstanding pilot, while Noel Klopper was presented with a life membership after volunteering at the club for more than 40 years.

A recreational licence requires a minimum of 25 flying hours and allows the pilots to fly within 25 nautical miles of Bunbury.

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Bunbury Aero Club president Michelle Piotrowski said she was particularly proud of pilot Daniel Ellen, who had contracted Ross River virus which had inhibited his training.

“Daniel has Ross River virus which means it has taken him a little longer because every time he wanted to fly, the sickness kicked in,” she said.

“But he got there in the end which makes it even more of an achievement.”

Mr Ellen said his journey began when his partner bought him a trial flight.

“She didn’t realise what it would become. As soon as we took off I thought ‘I am getting my pilot’s licence’.

“If people want to do it – time, health, money, weather all that stuff can be a challenge, but as long as you keep plugging away at it you will be fine.”

Ms Piotrowski said classes at the club were self paced and people interested could call 9725 4377 for more information.

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