Source: New Zealand Defence Force
18 June 2020
A rough time after leaving school hasn’t deterred Pilot Officer Campbell Abraham from making something of his life, and he is now about to embark on pilot training with the Royal New Zealand Air Force (RNZAF).
Pilot Officer Abraham, 24, from Hastings, has just graduated the RNZAF Officer Commissioning Course (ROCC) at Base Woodbourne.
Before joining the Air Force in 2016 as a Security Forces Specialist he was working as an apprentice but had an unlucky run, losing two jobs within six months.
“I got made redundant from my job and a mate who was in service at the time was seemingly living the good life, doing heaps of cool stuff. I wanted to get involved.”
The call accepting him into the Air Force came not a moment too soon.
“It felt like I was finally on my feet again when I received the good news that I had been accepted on the first recruit course of 2016,” he said.
In his time working in Security Forces he went on a number flights with No.3 Squadron, who fly the NH90 helicopters, which sparked an interest in changing trades and becoming an Officer in the RNZAF.
“Initially I applied for the role of helicopter loadmaster, as it looked cool and I was inspired on the flights I went on with them. But after I had completed the officer aircrew selection board I researched the role of pilot and decided to put though a request for pilot instead.”
Pilot Officer Abraham said he had enjoyed the practical phases of training as it was similar to his previous job. But the course hadn’t been without its challenges, COVID-19 being one of them.
“There was a lot of uncertainly at first, as there was for the rest of the country, but I think we were very lucky in a way – while the rest of the country was stuck at home, we got to keep going through course.” he said.
He is excited for the next part of his journey and expects it to be “fast paced and challenging”.
Ab Initio training, or Wings Course, is conducted by No.14 Squadron at RNZAF Base Ohakea. It is a combination of theory and practical work, and is the foundation training of all RNZAF pilots.
Pilot Officer Abraham said while he did not yet know if he wanted to fly fixed wing aircraft or helicopters, he was happy to have come this far and was looking forward to the next challenge of getting through Wings Course.
“Push yourself and don’t be afraid of trying new things, be prepared to be challenged and make good use of the opportunities you get.”