Future Aviators in Australia Appreciate F‑16

GEELONG, Aus­tralia, March 8, 2011 — More than 30 future avi­a­tors gath­ered around an F‑16 fight­er jet based at Mis­awa Air Base, Japan, dur­ing the 2011 Aus­tralia Inter­na­tion­al Air Show here March 5.
The stu­dents are mem­bers of the Aus­tralian Air League, a vol­un­teer orga­ni­za­tion for young peo­ple inter­est­ed in avi­a­tion.

“Our orga­ni­za­tion gives the chil­dren a bet­ter appre­ci­a­tion of how avi­a­tion affects Aus­tralia, said Michael Dia­mond, the organization’s 2nd offi­cer and act­ing com­man­der of its Sun­bury Squadron.

Mem­bers of the Pacif­ic Air Forces F‑16 demon­stra­tion team gave the chil­dren a tour of the main U.S. per­former at the bi-annu­al air show, which drew more than 180,000 peo­ple over six days. The pub­lic did­n’t have the oppor­tu­ni­ty to reach out and touch the jets, as the young avi­a­tion enthu­si­asts did.

“This is an absolute buzz for the chil­dren today,” Dia­mond said. “The gen­er­al pub­lic got to see the jets fly, but through your pro­gram, the chil­dren were able to get clos­er and speak with the peo­ple that han­dle it, and this will be some­thing that they remem­ber for an awful long time.”

The per­for­mance thrilled the young peo­ple with the thought of fly­ing an F‑16.

“The F‑16 is just awe­some, and the per­for­mance was real­ly cool,” said 13-year old Emaon Con­nor, the act­ing lead­ing cadet. The stu­dents met two of the pilots and many of the main­te­nance per­son­nel who work on the F‑16.

“It was won­der­ful hav­ing the kids with us and show­ing them what our whole mis­sion as the Pacaf demo team is all about,” said Air Force Tech. Sgt. Tim­o­thy Con­nor, an egress sys­tems crafts­man. Con­nor showed the chil­dren all around the plane, intro­duced them to the oth­er team mem­bers and answered many of their ques­tions.

“The abil­i­ty for the chil­dren to be able to come out here and put their hands on the air­craft allowed them to see the big­ger pic­ture of what we and the pilots do was pret­ty awe­some,” Con­nor said.

U.S. Depart­ment of Defense
Office of the Assis­tant Sec­re­tary of Defense (Pub­lic Affairs)

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