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.