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Students from Salisbury East High School took off on an incredible flying visit to Parafield Airport this week.
The access-all-areas excursion was part of ‘Workwise Week’, when Year 10s undertake industry visits to various high-profile locations and learn about potential future pathways.
Chris Griffiths, manager of Parafield Airport, personally escorted the group on the once-in-a-lifetime tour of South Australia's premier general aviation airport and treated them to a series of exhilarating experiences.
First used in 1927 and later becoming the only civil airport for Adelaide until Adelaide Airport opened in 1955, the students were given an intriguing presentation about the history of the facility while seated around the boardroom table.
They learned that the largest, world-standard international pilot training facility in the Southern Hemisphere has more than 2000 employees, which includes the shopping precinct on Main North Road, and it processes in excess of seven million passengers annually.
After Sydney, it is also the second busiest airport in the whole of Australia for take-offs and landings and is a major source of income for the South Australian economy.
The students then saw at first hand some classic fighter jets and were even allowed onto the viewing balcony of the art deco control tower - once the airport’s main passenger terminal - where they tracked numerous aeroplanes taking off and landing during a series of training circuits.
Another highlight was a visit to the Flinders University Airborne Research hanger. Helmut Thompson provided the group with a series of hilarious anecdotes about his fascinating job before showing the group one of the $1 million planes that is used for environmental research throughout the country.
Flight Training Adelaide’s busy operations room was next on the agenda where our students watched pilots check in for their flights, study weather reports and follow flight paths.
They also saw where the trainees live on-site for up to 18 months during their training as well as the 350-capacity mess hall, gym, basketball and tennis courts, soccer pitch and multi-million dollar flight simulator facilities.
The group then listened intently to the winner of Parafield Airport’s $60,000 flying scholarship as he spoke about his on-going journey to becoming a commercial airline pilot.
Mr Hamdorf and Mr Peck accompanied the students on the never to be forgotten excursion.
“This was one of the most interesting educational trips we have ever had the pleasure of going on and we cannot thank Chris Griffiths enough for giving up three hours of his valuable time to provide our students with such an engaging and detailed insight into the daily operations of one of Australia’s busiest airports,” said Mr Peck.
“China is gradually opening up airspace to make room for its rapidly increasing commercial flights market and Boeing report up to 20,000 new pilots are needed each year for the next 20 years.
“Aircrew and engineers will also be required to support this growth in the industry so there are very real and viable pathways available for those interested in pursuing a career in aviation.
“I’m sure that the trip to Parafield Airport has given our students some food for thought for the future, even more so now that they have gained so much knowledge about a facility that is quite literally on their doorstep.”
Earlier this year Salisbury East High School began an exciting new partnership with Parafield Airport through their innovative STEM Wings initiative, which looks at training and work opportunities in the aviation industry.
Anyone interested in finding out more about the many options that are available should speak to Assistant Principal Miss Riley.