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Reaching for the sky

September 23, 2019 September 2019 No Comments

Ready to go. A ground crew attaching the tow rope in preparation for launch. The student sits in the front seat and instructor, Vern Grant, in the rear seat of the dual control glider.

Having a gliding club operating in close vicinity to their college offered a unique opportunity which Kuranui College realised and acted upon. As a result Aviation as a subject has now been part of the curriculum for ten years. It is offered to interested students who see themselves moving into any aspect of aviation in the future

The course is held in conjunction with the Wellington-Wairarapa Gliding club with Kuranui providing the academic component and the Gliding club the hands on experience. This from their Papawai airstrip using their instructors gliders and equipment. Course tutor Vern Grant explains “This works really well – there is a wealth of instructor talent on tap”.

NCEA unit standard credits are on offer, at level 3 and 4 (although younger students can be assessed at this level and “bank” those credits until they are of an appropriate age). Gliding Wairarapa holds the accreditation from NZQA to assess the unit standards but both the gliding club and college are there for the students who interchange their training programme between the two. 

The aim is both to reach the standard to obtain a glider pilot licence and to provide doorway to a career in Aviation. Most of the students who have passed through the course have entered an aviation related field – helicopters, the  Airforce, ag pilots, stunt pilots, instructor ratings etc. 

Vern points out that gliding is an excellent springboard into all aspects of aviation because 1) it is local  2) it is relatively cheap to get in to compared to other aviation endeavours.

Currently .there are eleven students involved from Kuranui and another two from other schools who join us for training at the weekends. A total of fifty have passed through the course.

Recently eight students attended the NZ International Commercial Pilots Training Academy’s open day at Whanganui. Here they ere able to see first hand the training planes, flight simulators and how commercial pilots are trained.  

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