Learn to Fly

Schools are responding to the challenges of educating children for the new millennium in different ways. Our school is responding to these challenges with our unique Year 10 Learn to Fly program, celebrating its 19th year in 2019.. While the Essington Middle School continues its strong emphasis on literacy, numeracy and computing skills, there is also a focus on developing the self confidence of individual students.

The school seeks to provide a variety of opportunities for students to explore their world and to discover the many skills and attributes they possess. One of our Middle School programs for doing this is our Year 10 Learn To Fly Program, now in its seventeenth year.

Gavin Wrigley and Reg Moore, nationally accredited gliding instructors, provide a program of theory lessons on the ground and hands-on flying lessons in the aircraft, a European built, single engine powered glider. Students complete two lessons a day and in between their time in the air work through their Learn To Fly Book with an instructor on the ground. They learn to control the aircraft in the air and to complete various advanced flying manoeuvres thousands of feet above Batchelor.

During the northern dry season Gavin Wrigley is found teaching adults to fly in Europe during their summer. In the northern hemisphere weather he teaches gliding on the south island of New Zealand. Reg Moore resides in Adelaide and teaches gliding there and comes north each year to work with Gavin on this unique program.

The flying lessons, held at the Batchelor airstrip, are designed not only to teach students the basics of flight and flying, but also to develop their self confidence and to encourage them to reach their potential. The aim is to have students’ recognize that if they can learn to fly at 15 years of age, there is no goal they cannot achieve if they set their mind to it. Students are encouraged to relate their experiences and feeling about learning to fly to new challenges and opportunities they will be presented with in the future.

Four years ago an extension program was provided to Year 10 students who had demonstrated a high level of competence in flying. They were invited to come back on the weekend and complete an extension program, an Air Race, that involved them nagivating their way across country from Batchelor in a triangle. Students had an hour and a half to complete the circuit and points were awarded according to several criteria. Several parents have also taken part in introductory flights each year after students completed their program.