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Army July 5, 2012
There is nothing basic about the ADF Basic Flying Training School,
as LAC Bill Solomou discovers.
LONG days are noth-
ing new for the crew at
the ADF Basic Flying
Training School (BFTS) in
Tamworth, where Army, Navy and
Air Force pilots get their first taste
According to CO Wg-Cdr
Dennis Tan, the professionalism of
the staff and the enthusiasm of the
students play a part in the school's
"I think the school is the best
basic flying training school any-
where 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-
screening course, between 100 and
150 get panelled to do the BFT
course and about a third of those
Graduating students Capt Tim
Wellham and Lt Bryan McClurg
are on their way to fulfilling their
Both members are following
a passion they've had since child-
Capt Wellham said the tempo of
the course was very high.
"It's the hardest course that I
have done in the military," he said.
"There is a culture of excellence
at the school."
After his type conversion he
hopes to fly the MRH 90.
Lt McClurg's family is very
proud of his achievements and he
will be the first pilot in the family.
He said the most memorable part
of the course was doing low-level
navigation and, of course, his last
While on the initial 24-week
course, students undertake theory
instruction classes including aero-
dynamics, aircraft systems, airman-
ship, cockpit systems, morse code,
navigation and meteorology.
And then there are flying lessons
conducted on the CT4B.
On completion of the course at
BFTS, Army members do an addi-
tional 12 weeks of training on the
Intermediate Pilot Program before
they head to the Army Aviation
Centre in Oakey, Queensland.
Wg-Cdr Tan said the 10 quali-
fied flight instructors (QFIs) who
rotated through the school each year
came from across the three services
and could do more than 500 hours
of flying a year.
"An equally important mission
of this unit is developing QFIs so
they are employable in other flying
units around the ADF," he said.
"I believe there is no better way
for an instructor to develop than to
fly with basic students.
"I would suggest to other pilots
that fears they may have faced in
their flying careers would be insig-
nificant compared to the day-to-
day challenges in teaching some-
one to fly.
"Teaching a student how to land
an aircraft for the first time will
always leave your hands trembling!"
Taking flight on course
Flying high: ADF BFTS graduates Lt Bryan McClurg and Capt Tim Wellham
conduct their final pre-flight inspections.
Photo by LAC Bill Solomou
Set and ready: Lt Sarah Rosier collects her helmet.
Above right, a formation of CT4B Airtrainers with
students and instructors take flight in clear skies
Photos by LAC Bill Solomou and BAE Services
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