TOWNSVILLE is set to take off as a hub for a new generation of helicopter pilots after TAFE Queensland expanded its aviation program.
Student pilot George Hoey, 21, is one of the first to enrol and has travelled from the Darling Downs to study, with hopes of becoming a pilot in the agricultural sector.
“I came to Townsville primarily for the quality of the training and to learn how to fly with the idea to get me commercially job-ready,” he said.
TAFE Queensland North Region general manager Joann Pyne said the six-month Diploma of Aviation helicopter course had been launched to meet demand for pilots.
“Our graduates might one day find themselves piloting scenic flights, mustering livestock, working in search and rescue or even carrying out power line inspections,” Ms Pyne said.
Townsville Helicopters managing director Richard Arnold has partnered with TAFE Queensland to deliver the course.
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“Townsville is a great training ground for up-and-coming helicopter pilots because the Townsville Airport is less congested than capital city airports and students get to experience controlled and non-controlled airspace,” he said.
The new course comes 12 months after TAFE launched a program in Townsville to train commercial pilots to fly aeroplanes.