A group of Whangarei youngsters got to experience the joys of aviation at the inaugural Sports Flying Academy Flying Jamboree over the weekend.
The jamboree was attended by 23 youths aged from 12 to 17, academy chief flying instructor and executive officer Shaun Sutherland said.
There were also a number of officials and parent helpers, and all participants camped on the sports field behind the Onerahi volunteer fire station for the weekend.
Activities included hands-on flying in the academy's Tecnam Sierra aircraft where the participant takes control under the careful eye of their instructor.
Mr Sutherland said they also had a flight in a four-seater piper Cherokee 235.
"The Northland Rescue Helicopter also visited and completed a winch demonstration which was awesome," he said.
The youngsters also completed a hands-on flight in the Sikorsky helicopter simulator at the airport. The volunteer fire service completed a fire-fighting demonstration and a aerobatic model helicopter display was also held. On Saturday evening the movie Top Gun was screened.
"This is our first Jamboree and the kids have really loved it. They have so much talent and have really taken to flying.
"Many of our participants want to go on to fulltime careers in aviation and it's wonderful to see so much enthusiasm and excitement from them," Mr Sutherland said.
"We intend for this to become an annual event and next year's jamboree promises to be bigger and better," he added.