Townsville Bulletin - - NEWS - EMMA CHADWICK

TOWNSVILLE is set to take off as a hub for a new gen­er­a­tion of he­li­copter pilots after TAFE Queens­land ex­panded its avi­a­tion pro­gram.

Stu­dent pi­lot Ge­orge Hoey, 21, is one of the first to en­rol and has trav­elled from the Dar­ling Downs to study, with hopes of be­com­ing a pi­lot in the agri­cul­tural sec­tor.

“I came to Townsville pri­mar­ily for the qual­ity of the train­ing and to learn how to fly with the idea to get me com­mer­cially job- ready,” he said. Ge­orge Hoey takes flight over the city

TAFE Queens­land North Re­gion gen­eral man­ager Joann Pyne said the six- month Di­ploma of Avi­a­tion he­li­copter course had been launched to meet de­mand for pilots.

“Our grad­u­ates might one day find them­selves pi­lot­ing scenic flights, mus­ter­ing live­stock, work­ing in search and res­cue or even car­ry­ing out power line in­spec­tions,” Ms Pyne said.

Townsville Heli­copters man­ag­ing di­rec­tor Richard Arnold has part­nered with TAFE Queens­land to de­liver the course.

“Townsville is a great train­ing ground for up- and- com­ing he­li­copter pilots be­cause the Townsville Air­port is less con­gested than cap­i­tal city air­ports and stu­dents get to ex­pe­ri­ence con­trolled and non- con­trolled airspace,” he said.

The new course comes 12 months after TAFE launched a pro­gram in Townsville to train com­mer­cial pilots to fly aero­planes.


HIGH HOPES: Ge­orge Hoey from the Dar­ling Downs is com­plet­ing a he­li­copter train­ing course in Townsville.

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