Damen Golding with flight instructor Sam Dawson.

Golding named top aviation student


A former Paraparaumu College student has been named the top student in his class at Massey University’s School of Aviation.

Damen Golding was presented with the Outstanding Student Award for overall excellence in the Bachelor of Aviation programme this week at the university’s Wings ceremony. The event marks a student’s completion of the flight-training component of the Bachelor of Aviation degree.

For many, including Mr Golding, getting their commercial pilot’s licence, or ‘Wings’, is more significant than their graduation ceremony.

Mr Golding says his award “was an incredible surprise”, but also a “massive milestone in my aviation career”

“The last two years of flight training have been both difficult and exciting, but well worth it and the award was the cherry on top. “

Mr Golding says he’s wanted to be a pilot since he was given a trial flight by the Kapiti Districts Aero Club.

“It was on the flight out and around Kapiti Island that I decided I wanted to pursue a career in aviation. I’ll never forget that first flight. After that I spent my weekends working at the aero club as a helper, cleaning the planes and sweeping the hanger. This included a couple of flights with the team at the aero club, which solidified my dream to fly.”

He says he’ll never forget the time he and two Massey classmates flew themselves from Palmerston North to Gore.

“The total flight time was 10 hours over three days, shared between the three of us. We stopped in Christchurch for the first night, Gore the second. I flew the long journey back to Palmerston north via the amazing sights of Queenstown on the last day. Truly a sight to behold and a trip I’ll never forget.”

With his commercial pilot’s licence now achieved, Mr Golding will spend the rest of this year completing the final papers for his Bachelor of Aviation and working towards his flight instructor’s qualification.

“I would like to work as a flight instructor for some years – and who knows what will happen after that? Ideally I would like to become a pilot for a medivac service like Life Flight here in New Zealand.”

Other awards presented at the Wings ceremony were:

  • Air New Zealand Flying Award: Joshua Paton
  • Airways Corporation Academic Award: Krishneel Naicker
  • Palmerston North Airport Professional Attributes Award: Liam Meikle
  • Fieldair Engineering Ltd Aviation Systems Award: Krishneel Naicker
  • Hugh Francis Navigation Award: Krishneel Naicker

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