Joining the Royal New Zealand Air Force (RNZAF) was a pretty easy decision for Pilot Officer Nathan Sycamore following inspiration from his father. 

Pilot Officer Sycamore has just graduated from the 17-week RNZAF Officer Commissioning Course at Base Woodbourne and will soon begin pilot training.

The 24-year-old, from the North Shore, has been around service personnel his whole life - his father was an Air Force pilot who flew the Fokker F27 Friendship and P-3K2 Orion aircraft.

“His experiences and the lifelong friendships developed over his career were a major influence in my decision to join the Air Force.

“My parents have been thoroughly supportive of me, and I would be lying if I said their influence didn’t factor in my decision to join,” he said. 

However, it wasn’t the easiest path for him to join - it took time.

“I was previously unsuccessful in my application to join the Air Force, but I never lost sight of where I wanted to be. I went to university and got an engineering degree before re-applying.” 

He said he was excited to begin his new career, and begin his Air Force pilot training to hopefully fly fixed-wing aircraft. 

“It is a goal I have been working toward for a huge part of my life and it is an exciting realisation of my dreams, although I know the hard work is just beginning.

“It is an exciting time to begin a career, in a rapidly changing organisation with new capabilities arriving soon.”

In the next few years the RNZAF will take delivery of new C130J-30 Super Hercules and P-8 Poseidons.

“I can’t predict exactly where I will be working in the future but I am looking forward to taking advantage of all the opportunities presented to me,” Pilot Officer Sycamore said.

Before starting his Wings Course he will be deployed on the New Zealand Defence Force’s current commitment, Operation Protect.

“I want to do my part in protecting New Zealand while also putting into practice the skills and knowledge I have learned over the last six months.” 

His advice to anyone wanting a career in the Air Force is to stay committed to your dreams.

“Don’t lose sight of your dreams, even if you get knocked back. It can be a lengthy process but the return is worth every single ounce of effort. 

“Working for the RNZAF provides a career that contributes to something bigger, every day will be different and you will be part of a team of thousands, working towards a wider goal.”

To learn more about a career in the Air Force visit www.defencecareers.mil.nz(external link).

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