Aviation students awarded their ‘Wings’

Tuesday 7 November 2023

Students of the Massey 77 cohort recently celebrated getting their Commercial Pilot Licences and multi-engine instrument ratings at a ‘Wings’ ceremony in Palmerston North.

The 13 aviation students who received their wings.

Thirteen students received their wings in a ceremony in October, attended by whānau and friends. Wings ceremonies take place as each cohort completes the flight training required as part of the Bachelor of Aviation (BAv) degree.

The wings were presented by Guest of Honour Captain Lonic Harkness, who is a flight examiner and simulator instructor on the Q300 aircraft with Air New Zealand. Captain Harkness is a graduate of the BAv (Air Transport Pilot) programme and was a flight instructor with the School of Aviation from 2012 to 2014. In his speech, he shared fond memories of his time as a student, and gave some solid advice to the cohort.

“The career paths you will each take will be unique, and that is something to be celebrated. The experiences, skills and knowledge you acquire are special to all of you, and you will each contribute to the success of our industry. In doing so though, you must always remember your primary task as a pilot."

Captain Lonic Harkness addresses the Massey 77 cohort during the wings ceremony in Palmerston North.

The valedictory speech on behalf of the cohort was delivered by Michael Horrocks, who spoke about their journey over the past two years being no walk in the park, and achieved through a large dose of commitment, work and caffeine. Michael went on to extend gratitude to all those who had helped the students along their journey.

“We, as a cohort, couldn’t get here alone. If it takes a village to raise a child, it takes an army to raise a pilot. For this we’d like to extend our thanks to those who got us to where we are today. To our instructors, for your airmanship, your patience and your tolerance of hard landings. To our lecturers, for giving us the knowledge to back ourselves and our decisions. Our fellow students for your wisdom, reassurance and camaraderie. Our engineers and air traffic controllers for keeping our skies and airplanes safe. And finally, to our friends and families for your constant love, support and encouragement.”

Several special awards were also presented at the ceremony, with Michael Horrocks claiming the Air New Zealand Flying Award for demonstrating a very high standard in all flight test examinations and the Fieldair Engineering Aviation Systems Award for specific excellence in the field of aviation systems.

Valedictorian Michael Horrocks is presented with the Air New Zealand award from Guest of Honour, Captain Lonic Harkness.

Callum Dodds was the recipient of the Airways Corporation Academic Award for achieving the highest GPS in the compulsory courses, and the Massey University School of Aviation Outstanding Student Award for demonstrating overall excellence in all aspects of the professional part of the BAv (Air Transport Pilot) programme.

Callum Dodds is presented with the Massey University School of Aviation Outstanding Student Award from School of Aviation Chief Executive Officer Ashok Poduval.

School of Aviation Chief Executive Officer Ashok Poduval closed the proceedings with a congratulatory message to the M77 cohort.

“Today is your day, a day that has been affected by the pandemic that struck the world, but indeed a day to celebrate the result of all your hard work. You have persevered, and it is your commitment and passion for aviation that has steered you to this milestone in your ambition. Continue your journey with lifelong learning, stay connected with the aviation industry, and remain prepared for that opportunity to come. Luck is where opportunity meets preparation.”

The other recipients of special awards were:

Air BP Scholarship award - Xinheng (Clancy) Wu (M78)
Palmerston North Airport Professional Attributes Award - Kate May
Hugh Francis Navigation Award - Juntong Wei
Craig Merryweather Memorial Scholarship - Hunter Tito
Royal Aeronautical Society (Palmerston North Branch) Award - Alexander Honeyfield (M80)
Massey University School of Aviation Skywards Award for Outstanding Airmanship - Corbin Going, Flight Instructor

Related news

Wings recipients ready for careers to take off

Friday 28 July 2023

The Massey 76 cohort have just celebrated getting their commercial pilot’s licenses, also known as their ‘Wings’.

Wheels up for Wings recipients

Wednesday 5 October 2022

The 72nd and 73rd cohorts of Massey’s School of Aviation have just celebrated getting their commercial pilot’s licences, also known as their ‘Wings’.