Two former New Zealand Army soldiers are embarking on new careers as pilots in the Royal New Zealand Air Force (RNZAF).

Pilot Officers Andrew Hall-Jones and Nick Farrell have just graduated from the RNZAF Officer Commissioning course at Base Woodbourne.

Pilot Officer Hall-Jones, 26, from Te Anau and Pilot Officer Farrell, 30, from Waimate, both served in the Army as soldiers at 2nd/1st Battalion, Royal New Zealand Infantry Regiment.

Pilot Officer Hall-Jones, who was in the Army for seven years, said his goal had always been to become a pilot.

“I have gained a lot of experience and opportunities through the Army and I wanted to stay in Defence and join the Air Force,” he said.

“I also have a bit of history in the Air Force, with my great-uncle Fredrick Hall-Jones being a pilot during World War II.”

Pilot Officer Farrell, who was in the Army for 12 years, said he had achieved all he had set out to in the Army.

“I now have the experience and confidence to pursue a career as a pilot, having always loved aviation,” he said.

Both said they had enjoyed the past 16 weeks on course and being around like-minded individuals.

“Meeting such a diverse range of very smart and driven people has definitely been a highlight,” Pilot Officer Farrell said.

In January both will start on the next part of their journey to becoming pilots and both were looking forward it.

“We will start training on the T-6C Texan at Wings Course, which will be a huge challenge but I am excited for it,” Pilot Officer Hall-Jones said.

He was “just stoked to be in this position where I have the opportunity to learn to fly”.

“This is a huge achievement for me. I do know the next steps are going to be challenging and I am excited to start them,” he said. 

Both advised those wanting to join the RNZAF should give it a go and be prepared.

“Do a lot of research and know that it’s going to be hard but it is worth it. If it is a passion or something you have been thinking of for a while then just do it,” Pilot Officer Hall-Jones said.

“Be humble but confident in your abilities, research what is required and be prepared – whether it be practising maths or working on your fitness. Most importantly, be yourself,” Pilot Officer Farrell said.

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