12 June 2018
Royal New Zealand Air Force (RNZAF) Pilot Officer Kristy Barker is looking forward to landing in Dunedin this week – even for a quick overnight stop.
Pilot Officer Barker, from Invercargill, is part of a trainee No. 5 Squadron flying crew taking an RNZAF Orion P-3K2 to Dunedin on Wednesday.
The crew, from RNZAF Base Auckland, are on a training course to hone their skills flying an Orion aircraft – under the watchful eyes of their instructors.
Pilot Officer Barker joined the RNZAF in 2015, after finishing at James Hargest College.
“I liked the idea of having a career in aviation and the Air Force offered so much,” she said. “From going overseas, and doing a variety of different jobs, to being paid to train and free medical care.”
After six months of officer training at Woodbourne Air Force Base, Pilot Officer Barker was based at Ohakea for five months before the start of her course as an Air Warfare Officer.
She attended a course at Royal Australian Air Force Base East Sale in Victoria to complete her navigation training on Kingair aircraft and was then posted to RNZAF Base Auckland, at Whenuapai, where she has been with No. 5 Squadron since June last year.
The training flight to Dunedin gives P-3K2 aircrew under training experience operating from civilian airfields and within unfamiliar airspace.
“It’s going to be great to be flying in the South Island, even though we won’t be there long,” she said.