Chopper to the top of class
PORT Douglas parents Cheryl and Gordon Wellham have their heads in the clouds after son Tim was chosen for elite Black Hawk helicopter training.
The Wellhams watched Tim graduate recently as one of only eight Defence pilots to be awarded their Army Aviation Corp wings following two years of rigorous training and he was one of only four graduates chosen to learn the ropes of the one of the world’s most advanced battlefield helicopters.
Tim’s army career began with his graduation as an army officer from the Defence Force Academy and then RMC Duntroon in Canberra.
He pursued flying privately and gained his private pilot licence and then an airline transport pilot licence before his commanding officer persuaded him to pursue army aviation while on his second tour of duty in East Timor as a logistics officer.
Black Hawks are used for the tactical transport of infantry soldiers, search and rescue, medical evacuation, disaster relief and external carriage of heavy equipment including artillery howitzers and light vehicles.
About 4000 applicants per year apply for military aviation, and around 300 are selected for practical flight testing and general aptitude screening.
Tim was one of 30 selected for Army helicopter training and joined a course of seven other trainees at the Army Helicopter School at Oakey, near Toowoomba, following in the footsteps of father Gordon who retired as a captain after 30 years in the Navy and the family’s connection to the Defence Forces stretching back five generations.
Mum Cheryl said it was a proud moment which highlighted the rewards for persistence.
‘‘I have fond memories of watching him learn to ride a push bike and, not so fond memories, of teaching him to reverse park - I never thought he would be doing what he is doing now,’’ she said.
‘‘ But there is certainly encouragement to everyone who has a child with a dream.’’
PROUD MOMENT: Gordon and Cheryl Wellham with son Tim