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Texans take flight over Nelson in Exercise Wise Owl

Nelson residents looking to the sky might have seen a group of unfamiliar aircraft operating recently.

14 September, 2022

Exercise Wise Owl is taking place in Nelson from 5 – 16 September 2022. On this course, nine pilots under training learn and consolidate formation flying techniques in a T-6C Texan. 

Pilot Officer Nathan Sycamore, 26, from Auckland, said it was good to head to Nelson to practice their skills in a different environment, operating out of Nelson Airport. 

Following in his father’s footsteps, PLTOFF Sycamore joined the pilot course at Base Ohakea in October 2021, after seeing his father’s career created a desire for him to fly too.

“I had exposure to flying from a very young age, so that’s what I knew I wanted to do.”

However, when he went to join after high school he was told to go and get a bit of life experience first.

So he went and got an engineering degree under his belt, then from there reapplied to join post University.

PLTOFF Sycamore graduated from the 17-week RNZAF Officer Commissioning Course at Base Woodbourne in 2021, before heading into pilot training. 

It’s good, it’s challenging, it’s definitely one of the hardest things I have ever done so far, but it’s a really rewarding course.

Pilot Officer Nathan Sycamore

Photo 1 Wise Owl

“You’re constantly growing and learning throughout the course.”

Being almost a year through his course, he said it was awesome to reflect back to how they were at the start, and how far they had come.

Prior to this formation flying exercise PLTOFF Sycamore said they had worked quite closely with their instructor, but Exercise Wise Owl saw them also working closely with their course mates as well. 

“You have to adapt to your wing man and understand things they might do, which are slightly different, so you can accommodate them.”

He said Exercise Wise Owl was a great opportunity to fly outside of Ohakea.

“It’s great to show what we do to everyone.

“We are in a really awesome part of Nelson and it’s awesome to see the public excited about what we are doing.”