Young aviator wins club championship
Competing in nine separate flying contests over two days, Jessica Weston is Waikato Aviation’s youngest female, and the first woman in more than 20 years, to become the Aviators’ Club’s senior champion.
At 21, and with not quite two years’ flight training, Weston won the Senior Low Flying, Senior Navigation, Senior Instrument Flying and Ladies Circuits, beating a number of experienced recreational pilots and fellow students, to be awarded the J A Harper trophy.
Designed to test pilots’ abilities and replicate actual flying situations, the annual competition assesses a range of flying skills. Circuits require precise landing skills as pilots attempt to land on a target within a grid. In the senior instrument flying contest the pilot must rely solely on their instruments. The navigational competition requires contestants to plan, map and fly a predetermined flight without the use of GPS apps, and in the difficult low flying contest the pilot must complete a defined pattern, including steep turns, at the same level and constant speed.
Flying is in Weston’s blood. Her grandfather’s brother also trained at Waikato Aviation. Despite Weston dreaming of flying since childhood she joined an accounting firm after leaving Te Awamutu College, but late in 2015 her grandfather came across a Waikato Aviation brochure and gave it to Weston. She took a trial flight and by January 2016 she was enrolled in the full time training course.
“I love the challenge of flying,” said Weston. “Nothing compares to the feeling of being in the air, and of course you get a different, and an amazing, view of the world.”
Weston recently gained her Commercial Pilot Licence and is currently doing night flying and multi engine training with Waikato Aviation.
When Weston completes her training she wants to work as a flight instructor, however she hasn’t ruled out a job as a commercial airline pilot with Air New Zealand.
In mid November Weston will represent the Waikato at the regional flying competitions in Tauranga.
Pilot Jessica Weston with the cache of trophies she won to become Senior Club Champion.