Kody now an ATC sergeant

By Erika Venter

Fifteen-year-old Kody Simpson has been promoted to Cadet Sergeant by the Air Training Corps, which brings him a step closer to living his dream of becoming an air force pilot.

He was chosen as one of 15 cadets nationwide for ATC's national aviation course, which he successfully completed, earning his navigation brevet.

He says he was just past knee-high when he decided flying planes was what he wanted to do and on turning 13 he joined the Air Training Corps No 48 Squadron in Stratford.

"With the relationship between the Air Force and the ATC, it is a good step up for a future in the air force."

His next challenge is to fly solo after completing a course on powered flying next year.

Kody, who lives on a dairy farm at Ngaere with his parents and siblings, says if he succeeds he will be the first pilot in his family.

Kody says he would recommend joining the ATC for anyone wanting a career in flying.

However, unit commander Julie Woods says you don't necessarily need to have your eye on a career in the military, nor have any prior training or specific skills to become a member of the ATC.

All you need, she says, is the desire to try something different.

The ATC is the biggest youth organisation in New Zealand and provides a structured three-year training programme.

This includes firearms training, drill, bushcraft, aviation and leadership. There are currently eight cadets at Stratford, having gained five new recruits following a Stratford Press advertisement a couple of weeks ago.

Julie has been involved with the ATC for 17 years and been running the Stratford unit for the past 11. She says membership is the lowest it has ever been.

The ATC hails from the Second World War when started as a pre-entry training to the RNZAF during the war. The Stratford unit was started in 1941.

If membership does not increase there is a possibility that it will go into recess. Julie says it would be sad for Stratford to lose this youth organisation.

You can join the staff as a civilian, doing administrative duties, and/or in time commission as a Cadet Officer in the New Zealand Cadet Forces.

"We really need some new faces, energy and ideas.

"It is hard to run with one officer."

- Stratford Press

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