Sky is limit for Hillcrest students

03:16, Aug 18 2014
hillcrest, flying
LEARNING TO FLY: Hillcrest High School student Sasha-Lee Smit, with teacher Jamahl Kha. In the background, Waikato Aero Club chief executive Richard Small with students Mitchell McCabe-Shaw and Luc Wesson.

Going to school usually means solving a string of maths problems, succeeding at spelling tests and practising the periodic table.

But not for six Hillcrest High School students who are learning to fly.

Social science teacher Jamahl Khan started the school's flying club earlier this year, giving students keen on an aviation career experience in the field.

''Flying's been a passion of mine since I was young,'' said Khan, who trained as a pilot in the air force.

''It's really great to be able to share my passion with the kids.''

The group, comprising year nine to year 13 students, meet weekly for theory sessions, flight simulation nights and flying experience at the Waikato Aero Club.


''They get to gain experience controlling the aircraft, which is quite a buzz for them,'' he said.

Four of the members are participating as part of the school's Gateway programme, an initiative to give students industry experience while receiving NCEA credits.Khan said many of the students were interested in careers with the air force, with some  in  the Waikato Air Training Corps.

Waikato Aero Club chief executive Richard Small said the group  were  a bunch of ''really keen kids''.

He said the group learn  about aircraft maintenance operations, airport security and baggage handling, as well as getting behind the wheel of the plane with a qualified instructor.

''It can be really expensive to get into aviation as a commercial environment,'' he said.

''This opportunity gives them a taste of flying - a chance to give it a try without spending a whole lot of money.''

Chelsea Armitage is a communications student at AUT.

Waikato Times