Aspeq news

Unsung heroes of the sky: Celebrating flight examiners on World Pilots’ Day

Apr 26, 2024

This World Pilots’ Day, Aspeq celebrates all the flight examiners who put their lives on the line to ensure pilots have the skills they need to keep our skies and passengers safe.

“Flight examiners are an unassuming bunch who very much hide their candle in bushell, but they play an absolutely critical role in our society by ensuring that the very high standards everyone expects of pilots are maintained” says Aspeq’s Aviation Manager, Gordon Alexander.

“Every time you step on an aeroplane, you are putting immense trust into the pilot knowing what they’re doing. A big part of that trust is knowing that the pilot has had to pass very high quality training and checking processes.”

That comes down to flight examiners, who test a candidate’s competency at every step along the process to becoming a fully fledged pilot.

Flight examiners are often pilots at the top of their game career wise, who are also passionate about inspiring the next generation of flyers.

Aspeq employs 35 flight examiners across the country, who service New Zealand’s 30-odd Flight Training Centres and Aero Clubs where aspiring pilots undertake stringent assessments to earn their wings.

The pilots that successfully go through Aspeq’s assessments, regulated by the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA), are qualified to fly commercially and go on to do a myriad of interesting jobs.

“Some of the pilots go on to fly big planes for the likes of Air New Zealand, of course, but there are more unexpected career paths too.” 

This includes charter pilots taking tourists on whale watching tours in Kaikoura, delivering the local traffic report, or inspecting power lines on the national grid.

Gordon knows intimately what it takes to be a flight examiner, having done the job himself for many years after a storied career in the Royal New Zealand Air Force.

“It takes a huge amount of professionalism and total lack of bias to ensure candidates are demonstrating the required competency.

“But it also takes a lot of empathy and passion. All flight examiners go into a flight test wanting their candidate to be successful.”

To ensure candidates can really show off what they know, flight examiners need a disarming manner that puts people at ease.

“You’re always a role model at the level of a flight examiner. Aspiring pilots naturally look up to you. Our flight examiners are generous with their knowledge and create an encouraging atmosphere where the candidate can really show what they know, while at the same time sticking to the incredibly stringent regulatory requirements and standards set out by the CAA.”

It’s a rare mix of skills and temperament that make flight examiners such a cherished, but often overlooked, part of society.  

“We want to take the opportunity on World Pilots’ Day to extend our heartfelt appreciation to all flight examiners across New Zealand and acknowledge the critical role they play in keeping all of us safe,” says Gordon.

 

 

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