Program to take off in new directions

OPEN DAY: Crystal Farinola, Cooper Ferrand, Isabella Beaumont, Miylo Roberts, Xavier Waldon and Nigel Bennett.
OPEN DAY: Crystal Farinola, Cooper Ferrand, Isabella Beaumont, Miylo Roberts, Xavier Waldon and Nigel Bennett.

Mid North Christian College are spreading their wings and looking for more opportunities to expand their high flying aviation program.

At an open day on Friday, August 23, the college opened their doors to students and parents visiting from across the state who have an interest in the unique program.

Aviation coordinator, Coralie Crosby, says that they are trying to raise the profile of their program and by allowing the public in to see what they can experience, can be greatly beneficial to a student who is not sure what they want to do. "The program has engineering which is in the workshop, we have a theory component as well as a flying component. Students go out to the airport one at a time and they get to do one hour of flying for their week that they are here. Over the year it is four hours and over the course it is eight hours. We have students who have gone off to be in the RAAF and as commercial pilots. It is a good way for people to get started because they can start at a younger age," she said.

The journey in the skies has been in place as long as the school has been running and school principal Nigel Bennett explains that someone saw the connection between the proximity of the campus and the airstrip and put two and two together to create a great opportunity.

"I am not sure whose brain wave it was but it was a synergy between the location of a new school and the opportunity to do something new. They had a vision for providing something that was different," he said. At the moment, there is a lot of potential for the program and Mr Bennett has acknowledged that and they hope to be able to improve their program, to see it expand further into the community.

"We see a lot more potential, we want to grow the program physically so that we can work on the modern planes, which are light-weight fibreglass technology. We think there is a great opportunity to work with adults and provide flying instruction and opportunities for the other 80 per cent of the year when the program is not running."

"Half of the students come from Mid North Christian College and the other half come from all around South Australia.

"One of our plans is to look for a grant that might bring students in from remote areas and interstate. If we can get partnership with one of the main carriers, that would bring their pilots to speak with our kids but also to hear stories to get support to bring those students in," Mr Bennett said.

The school currently receives funding from the Sir Ross and Sir Keith Smith Fund which helps them facilitate the program for their students.