James Davidson, FLTLT

2001 to 2005

Here is a young man who was destined to succeed and he has in just a few short years.  I’m sure a 30 hour day for most people would be required to fit in what James accomplished at school and what he has achieved in the seven years since leaving.  James was an academic, a leader, a sportsman and a gentleman.

By the end of his five years at school, James gained NCEA Level 3, took part in school productions, was a member of the concert band, represented the school at both Thames Valley and Waikato in swimming and athletics, was the school champion swimmer at all levels (junior, intermediate and senior), skied in the school ski team, was a member of the senior volleyball team and played for both the 1st hockey XI and the 1st soccer XI.  Wow!!

On leaving school James was chosen for a pilot’s course in the New Zealand Air Force and was then chosen to attend and study at the Australian Defence Force Academy in Canberra (2006-2008) where he completed a Bachelor of Technology – Aeronautical Engineering from the University of New South Wales.  During that time he completed his officer training for the Air Force.  He returned to New Zealand each summer holidays and worked for the NZ Air Force.

James commenced the RNZAF Pilot’s course in 2009 and completed this in September 2010.  The RNZAF course consisted of two parts; firstly flying the CT4 Air Trainers which are single engine aerobatic planes and secondly the King Airs which are twin engine 8-seater planes.  On graduating James was awarded his Wings.  He was also awarded the Merton Sword of Honour after completing the pilot’s course.  This award has only been presented 35 times since 1955.  It is awarded to “the best all-round officer graduating from a pilot or air warfare training course, with the emphasis on powers of leadership and officer qualities – it is only awarded to a person who has displayed exceptional ability.”

Having gaining his Wings, James worked on the King Airs as a co-pilot, transporting Air Force personnel and dignitaries around the country.  His next milestone (which took up most of 2011) was being offered the opportunity to join the Instructors course as one of four instructors to be trained.  James is one of the youngest and most junior pilots to be selected for the flying instructor’s course in the Air Force.

Currently James is working as a flying instructor teaching new pilots as they train on their Wings course.

He has now completed his B Category Instructors qualifications and his goal is to become an A Category Instructor as soon as possible.

James was selected in the Red Checkers team for the 2012 season.  He regards being selected to be part of the Aerobatics team as a huge honour.  He is the number 6 in the team.  The team travel around New Zealand and perform formation displays with five planes.  James’ job this year is ground support.  That means he flies a spare plane to all the shows, commentates during the performances and deals with  media.  Naturally he is hoping to have the opportunity to fly with the Checkers in formation in the very near future.

When asked to comment on the influence Matamata College had on his life, James believes there were many opportunities offered both academically and sporting/cultural.  He enjoyed the atmosphere at the school and made every effort to get the most out of his school years.  As Head Boy he gained confidence and developed valuable leadership skills.  James learnt good time management skills as he endeavoured to “pack heaps into a day/week!”

He had excellent influences from his home life.  Mum Wendy if presently HOD Physical Education at Matamata College, Dad Pete is a Vet at Matamata Veterinary Services, sister Sarah is completing a Dentistry Degree at Otago University  this year and younger sister Carolyn is also at Otago Uni in the second year of a Physical Education Degree.