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Auckland man gets a shot at flying dream with RNZAF

A young Tim Anderson grew up under the flight path of Auckland International Airport which sowed the seeds for a flying career and now the Royal New Zealand Air Force is helping him with his ultimate goal of gaining his wings.

18 July, 2022

“Being under the approach path instilled an early passion for aviation, and that was further cemented by a love of the ‘Biggles’ novels when I was a child,” the 28-year-old said.

While studying at University, he completed his private pilot’s licence, which was when he really knew he wanted to fly for a living.

He joined the RNZAF in 2015 and became an Air Warfare Specialist (AWS) – responsible for operating the highly advanced sensor systems in the P-3 Orion surveillance aircraft.

“The Air Force ticked all the boxes I was looking for in a career – aviation, travel and being able to genuinely give back to the community and protect our country and its resources.” 

Pilot Officer Anderson said after six years as an AWS it was time for a new challenge.

“In my time as an AWS I have visited more than 15 countries, conducting security patrols, search and rescue operations and military exercises with foreign aircraft.

“The great thing about serving in the New Zealand Defence Force is that you can easily transition from one career path to another, and commanders are very supportive of your professional and career development,” he said.

I have personally grown as a leader, and have observed my colleagues transform into junior officers of the RNZAF.

Pilot Officer Tim Anderson

PLTOFF Tim Anderson 1

He has now completed the 16-week RNZAF Officer Commissioning Course at RNZAF Base Woodbourne.

Pilot Officer Anderson said his time at Woodbourne was challenging but extremely rewarding.

“I have personally grown as a leader, and have observed my colleagues transform into junior officers of the RNZAF. 

“It was tougher than I expected, but we had a saying on the course ‘is the juice worth the squeeze?’. In this case, we have been squeezed hard by a range of pressures, but it has definitely been worth it in the end.”

He will now head to RNZAF Base Ohakea to complete Wings Course, something he expects to be the most significant challenge of his life.

“I have been working towards this moment for nearly two years, so I can’t wait to get started and continue the hard work learning to fly the T-6C Texan II aircraft,” Pilot Officer Anderson said.

Ab Initio training, or Wings Course is conducted by No.14 Squadron at Base Ohakea. It is a combination of theory and practical work, and is the foundation training of all RNZAF pilots. 

Having spent a significant amount of time with No.5 Squadron in his career already, Pilot Officer Anderson hopes one day to fly the new Boeing P-8A Poseidon maritime patrol aircraft, the first of which will arrive later this year to replace the Orion.

“I would like to return to No.5 Squadron one day and fly the new P-8. It would be a privilege to deploy overseas and serve New Zealand’s interests in a modern and extremely capable aircraft.”