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July 5, 2012
LAC Bill Solomou
LONG days are nothing new for the
crew at the ADF Basic Flying Training
School (BFTS) in Tamworth, where
Navy, Army and Air Force pilots get
their first taste of flying.
According to CO WGCDR Dennis
Tan, the professionalism of the staff
and the enthusiasm of the students
play a part in the school's success.
"I think the school is the best basic
flying training school anywhere in the
world," he said.
"It is the cornerstone of all ADF
pilot training and our partnership
with BAE Systems ensures it is, and
It is also where dreams are made
Of the 275 candidates selected each
year to attend a 10-day flight-screen-
ing course, between 100 and 150 get
panelled to do the BFTS course and
about a third of those don't succeed.
Currently on the senior ADF BFTS
course, MIDN Alex Clothier has been
following his dream since the age of
His opinion of the CT4B airtrainer
as a hardworking and fun aircraft to
fly is echoed by most of the students
"The school is full-on, but it's a lot
of fun," he said.
"You have to put in the effort but
the payoff is definitely worth it."
MIDN Lisa Blakiston said she
enjoyed the course because she was
working towards something she really
wanted to do.
"I'm loving my time here on
course," she said.
"It's such a unique situation to be
in, it's unlike anything else I have ever
While on the initial 24-week
course, students undertake theory
instruction classes including aerody-
namics, aircraft systems, airmanship,
cockpit systems, morse code, naviga-
tion and meteorology.
And then, of course, there are fly-
ing lessons conducted on the CT4B.
The qualified flight instructors
(QFIs) come from across the three
services and can do more than 500
hours of flying a year. Ten QFIs rotate
through the school each year.
Senior naval officer 'A' Flight
Commander LCDR Nathan Lewis said
navy students came from three differ-
ent sources -- ADFA, HMAS Creswell
and seaman officers that wanted to
"Three Navy QFIs are posted to
BFTS, they fly over three times a day
and conduct all levels of training,"
LCDR Lewis said
"BFTS operates at a very high
tempo; it is an excellent facility and
has everything that students and
LCDR Lewis encouraged any of
the Navy squadrons to visit the school.
"It would give the students a real
buzz," he said.
Nothing basic about course
FLYING HIGH: MIDN Lisa Blakiston attends a lesson while on the basic flying course. Inset, CO BFTS
WGCDR Dennis Tan congratulates LCDR Nathan Lewis on completing 20 years of service.Photos: LAC Bill Solomou
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