Corey Fothergill’s dream job


When Royal New Zealand Air Force trainee pi­lot Corey Fothergill hur­tles through the sky in a new T-6C Texan II plane, he strug­gles with the con­cept he is ac­tu­ally at work.

Pi­lot Of­fi­cer Fothergill, 20, of Wanaka, has just com­pleted Ex­er­cise Wise­owl at Base Wood­bourne, near Blen­heim.

He spent two weeks learn­ing for­ma­tion fly­ing in the Tex­ans with nine other trainee pi­lots from 14 Squadron.

The planes are pur­pose-built for mil­i­tary pi­lot train­ing and have the lat­est tech­nol­ogy, in­clud­ing ejec­tion seats, col­li­sion­avoid­ance and ground aware­ness warn­ing sys­tems, a pres­surised cock­pit and per­sonal lo­ca­tor bea­cons for each pi­lot.

They al­low the trainees to go higher, fur­ther and faster than their pre­de­ces­sors.

‘‘I still find it hard to be­lieve that when I’m fly­ing that it’s ac­tu­ally my job,’’ Fothergill said.

‘‘Grow­ing up I al­ways dreamed of be­com­ing a pi­lot. When de­cid­ing what to do after I left school, I thought the Air Force would be a pretty cool way to do it and here I am - def­i­nitely no re­grets.’’

Fothergill was the Mount As­pir­ing Col­lege dux in 2014. He joined the air­force in early 2015.

He went to an of­fi­cer train­ing course in Wood­bourne that year and be­gan pi­lot train­ing at Base Ohakea in 2016.

Ex­er­cise Wise­owl aims to place trainees in un­fa­mil­iar ter­ri­tory, so they de­velop the skills to op­er­ate any­where in the world.

‘‘Every day is dif­fer­ent for me, which is what I love about it,’’ Fothergill said.


Corey Fothergill finds it hard to be­lieve he gets paid to fly.

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