HMAS Albatross’ female pilots passed the baton for the first Women Pilots’ Relay of Flight on Wednesday, raising money for the Cancer Council and promoting women in aviation.
Three military aircraft left Nowra at 8.15am with navy Squirrel helicopter pilot Lieutenant Sally-Anne Malone in charge to take the baton on the next leg of the journey to Bankstown in Sydney.
There, it was handed to Sandy Taylor and Joanna Murphy for the next handover in Cessnock.
Lt Malone was accompanied by fellow HMAS Albatross female pilots in an MRH90 and a Seahawk helicopter on the next leg of the relay.
Lt Malone said as one of five navy female pilots at HMAS Albatross, she hoped to promote the career path to aspiring young women.
“It can be daunting, especially the night-deck work, but I love putting myself up for the challenge,” she said.
“If you are willing to pursue a career in aviation you can do it and we are all happy to be mentors.
“It’s great to see a student from Nowra Anglican College here today who wants to be a navy pilot.”
MRH90 pilot Lieutenant Tammielee Moffatt flew alongside Lt Malone on Wednesday morning with 12 female passengers both military and civilian.
She said the 19,000 kilometre journey around Australia was a great opportunity to raise awareness for women in aviation as well as support a good cause.
“Women in aviation, we are a small percentage Australian Women Pilots’ Association (AWPA) has been really supportive in promoting that awareness,” Lt Moffatt said.
“I’ve been flying since I was 16. I always wanted to do something a little more challenging with the military and I pursued that dream and here I am today.
“Flying is really good fun and for the military it’s a lot more rewarding and I get to be more involved in community engagements.
“I like challenging myself and doing things that are different and a bit of fun.”
Also along for the flight were HMAS Albatross pilots Lieutenant Commander Natalee Johnston, who has been a pilot for 20 years and taught Malone to fly, and Lieutenant Natalie Davies. She began flying in 2007 and has also spent time in Afghanistan.
NAC student Eleanor Pach and six students from Bomaderry High School – Juella McLeod, Sophie Bean, Sarah Reese, Sarah Cattell, Tamika Tuckley and Molly O’Brien, with an interest in an aviation career, had ringside seats to the baton’s arrival at HMAS Albatross on Tuesday afternoon.
Bomaderry High School year 11 student Tamika Tuckley did her year 10 work experience at the Fleet Air Arm Museum.
“I think that inspired me to want to look into a career in aviation.”
The Women Pilots’ Relay of Flight took off from the Avalon Airshow, Victoria on March 2 and will travel counter-clockwise around Australia before it finishes in Launceston on April 22.
For more information or to make a donation visit the FLYNAVY fundraising page can at http://nsw.cancercouncilfundraising.org.au/FlyNavy.