Massey University School of Aviation is marking a milestone this year when it celebrates 25 years of producing “aviators with a difference”.
The school will hold its silver jubilee in April with a two-day celebration culminating in a gala dinner.
Aviators, alumni, enthusiasts and experts will reunite to mark the school’s anniversary, with a chance to check out the $8 million fleet of Diamond training aircraft at the Milson Flight Systems Centre in Palmerston North.
Chief executive of the school Ashok Poduval says April is an ‘aviation’ month on the New Zealand calendar with the school’s silver jubilee celebration, the 75th anniversary celebration of the Royal New Zealand Air Force and the Wings over Wanaka air show.
“We are extremely proud to have reached this milestone and even more proud of the achievements of our graduates who are employed in the industry all over the world,” he says. “The school is focused on contributing to the future of aviation through excellence in aviation education, training and research.”
Massey aviation students move on to careers as pilots, air safety investigators, airport managers, flight dispatchers and airline managers. The School of Aviation has recently been chosen by the national carrier Air New Zealand as a preferred training provider.
“Massey is making a global contribution from our base in New Zealand,” says Mr Poduval who has led the school since 2005. “We have networks with individuals and organisations around the world and we are hopeful that a number of them will join us for the celebrations.”
Massey School of Aviation commenced in 1987 with 28 students on the first course. This year, 326 students are studying towards a Bachelor of Aviation Management, 130 are studying towards a Bachelor of Aviation – Air Transport Pilot, 37 are pursuing postgraduate degrees and six are working towards doctorates.
Mr Poduval says the school has since grown to occupy a unique place in New Zealand and globally. “Our school is one of the few tertiary education institutions in the world that provides professional training for pilots embedded in University accredited academic qualifications,” he says.
“We believe it takes more than stick and rudder skills and flying hours in the log book to produce a high-calibre aviator.”
The purchase of two twin-engine Diamond DA42 and 12 Diamond DA40 single-engine aircraft in 2009 established Massey at the forefront of professional pilot training in New Zealand. The first graduates to complete their training on these aircraft received their Wings in November.
The aircraft, which replaced the Piper Warrior single engine and Piper Seneca twin-engine aircraft, have state-of-the-art Garmin 1000 cockpit display systems to enhance safety and improve training quality.
“The Diamonds are technologically-advanced aircraft with digital instrumentation, moving map displays, terrain awareness warning and traffic avoidance systems,” says Mr Poduval.
They are also fitted with Spidertracks, a device developed with the aid of Massey University mechatronics graduate James McCarthy that enables real-time tracking of the aircraft position from the flight operations centre.
The jubilee dinner will be held on Saturday April 21 at the Palmerston North Convention Centre. For more information, or to book your boarding card, email firstname.lastname@example.org and follow the school on Facebook.