Over the past several years, an increasing number of senior school students at St Philip’s Christian College have developed a strong interest in Aeronautics. For some, this journey began back in Years 7 & 8, when they studied Aeronautics in their Technology classes. For others, it was the Aerodynamics unit of the iSTEM course in Years 9 & 10. Still for others, it was the Engineering Studies course in Years 11 & 12. As with any potential career choice, it must resonate within, and grow with time. For several Year 11 students, like Ryan Bayley, a week’s work experience at Amberley Air Force Base (Queensland) and a tour through BAE SYSTEMS at Williamtown courtesy of the ME Program, confirmed the fact that he was on the right path. For Thomas Vidler, it was a week’s work experience flying in the Westpac Rescue helicopter. For Cornelius Paardekooper, it was a week spent at Boeing Defence in Williamtown, working on the FA-18 fighters and the Wedgetail reconnaissance and surveillance aircraft as part of RDA Hunters STEM EX Program. All three young men have set their sights high, seeking entry to the Australian Defence Force Academy (ADFA). For others like Jesse Fayers, an introductory flight in a Cessna 152 confirmed a long standing desire to be a commercial pilot.
For students like Kenyon McMahon, a large model rocket project that he is currently constructing as part of his coursework has kindled an interest in the aerospace industries, which Thomas Vidler and Cornelius Paardekooper are also pursuing, as they head to NASA the USA this October to participate in the Advanced Space Academy program.
Aviation has also been a long standing interest with some of St Philips Year 12 students. Rhys van Haran and Jacob Layton, have been active in the Air Force Cadets program for many years, having earned their Glider’s Licence, and now working on their Private Pilot’s Licence. For Rhys, a career with the Air Force has been attained, by gaining early entry as an Aircraft Technician, from which he will work to fulfil his dream of being a fighter pilot. Jacob’s eventual goal is to become a flight instructor and gain a commercial pilots licence.
For students like Tristan Oswald, it came through working on mechatronic projects in the iSTEM course, and later, through contact with the StarLAB/Mars Rover project funded by the ME program. Tristan’s interests lie in pursuing work in the space industries, focussing on developing autonomous extra-terrestrial exploration vehicles such as the Mars Rovers, and the space craft that get them there. The photo below to the far left is of Rhys Van Haran with Air Commodore Terry Van Haran RAAF Williamtown and the photo next to that is of Jacob Layton Co-piloting a helicopter.