Ca­reer soars to new heights

Matamata Chronicle - - News -

For­mer Mata­mata man Jimmy David­son has no re­grets over the ca­reer choice he made in his last year at Mata­mata Col­lege.

He’s now Flight Lieu­tenant David­son of the Royal New Zealand Air Force.

Flight Lieu­tenant David­son joined the air force in 2006 where he was one of just four New Zealand of­fi­cer cadets to study at the Aus­tralian De­fence Force Academy in Can­berra.

He grad­u­ated in 2008 with a Bach­e­lor of Tech­nol­ogy and Aero­nau­ti­cal En­gi­neer­ing be­fore re­turn­ing to New Zealand to un­der­take pi­lot train­ing at Ohakea.

‘‘I al­ways wanted to be a pi­lot, since I was a lit­tle kid watch­ing the air shows. The air force is pretty cool and it was an at­trac­tive way to get into fly­ing train­ing.’’

On grad­u­a­tion from pi­lot train­ing in 2010, Flight Lieu­tenant David­son re­ceived the cov­eted Mer­ton Sword of Hon­our, awarded from time to time to the best all-round of­fi­cer grad­u­at­ing from a pi­lot or air war­fare of­fi­cer train­ing course, with em­pha­sis on pow­ers of lead­er­ship and of­fi­cer qual­i­ties. Ex­cep­tional re­sults are re­quired; the Mer­ton Sword has been awarded only 36 times since its in­cep­tion in 1955.

Af­ter grad­u­a­tion Flight Lieu­tenant David­son served as an in­struc­tor in the Pi­lot Train­ing Squadron at Ohakea, and also spent two fly­ing sea­sons in the fa­mous Red Check­ers Fly­ing Dis­play Team. The Red Check­ers per­form pre­ci­sion fly­ing dis­plays above towns and cities across the coun­try in the air force’s dis­tinc­tive yel­low CT-4 Air­train­ers dur­ing the sum­mer.

‘‘You fly in very close for­ma­tion so you have to trust that the other mem­bers of the team won’t make a mis­take, and they have to have the same trust in you. I was lucky to have been a part of the Red Check­ers team, it was a fan­tas­tic ex­pe­ri­ence and I cer­tainly learned a lot.’’

Flight Lieu­tenant David­son

is cur­rently a co-pi­lot on the C-130 Her­cules in 40 Squadron at When­u­a­pai. He de­scribes the tran­si­tion from the Air­trainer to the Her­cules as a ‘‘fairly steep learn­ing curve’’.

‘‘I re­ally en­joy fly­ing the Herc. It’s ac­tu­ally quite nim­ble for such a large air­craft and you for­get it’s so big when you are fly­ing it.

‘‘I was one of the pi­lots who flew a Herc down to Wanaka for War­birds this year ... it was a great air show, and I was lucky to be in­volved with it,’’ he said.

Photo: SUP­PLIED

NO RE­GRETS: Flight Lieu­tenant Jimmy David­son along­side the C-130 Her­cules at War­birds over Wanaka at Easter.

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