By JANINE BAALBERGEN
The approaching noise of a helicopter brought Levin School pupils and some neighbours out of their homes into the breezy outdoors.
With the noise the excitement intensified too as the children gathered at the back of the school, facing the large playground.
The Air force helicopter circled the building once and then slowly descended on to the lawn.
Once the engine died down and the propellers stopped spinning the three-man crew popped out, and greeted the school principal.
They then were introduced to the children. They invited the children to approach the helicopter in groups and allowed them to sit in the seats at the back of the helicopter.
Teacher Paulianne Taylor said the children in her class had written to the Air force as they really wanted to learn more about helicopters.
"The RNZAF sent Flying Officer Corey Fothergill, Flying Officer Connor Broughton and Leading Aircraftman Harry Jewitt in an Agusta 109 helicopter from Ōhakea to answer our questions.
"The students had a fabulous time looking around the helicopter, getting in it, and asking lots of good questions. This was an excellent experience to learn about helicopters, and about some different roles that people play in the Air force.
"Levin School invited preschoolers from Learning Links to join in the experience.
Pilot Corey said they were on their way to Christchurch and the trip to Levin only took them 10 minutes.
"Normally we have baggage in the back but this time we put three seats in. It took us only 10 minutes to get here from Ōhakea."
The children all lined up to get their turn sitting in the back seats of the helicopter.
"As an educator, I believe this was an excellent opportunity for students to learn something that they will never forget.
"In a time when students can access information more easily than ever, it is satisfying to be able to spark their curiosity in an authentic way. I am also very appreciative that my students' request was acknowledged by the RNZAF."