Submitted by admin on April 22, 2009 - 20:52
Royal New Zealand Aero Club
The Royal New Zealand Aero Club was formed in 1930 under the presidency of Sir Francis Boyes. The club affiliated with the Royal Aero Club of England and the FIA (Fédration Internationale Aéronautique). The RNZAC, therefore, has a longer history than any other aviation organisation, and preceded even the RNZAF.
At present there are 40 affiliated aero clubs providing basic flying training within reach of any centre of population. The clubs helped considerably with pilots and training machines at the outbreak of the Second World War. The City of Wellington Squadron, which consisted almost entirely of club-trained pilots, earned some 57 decorations during the war. Immediately after the war clubs continued the initial training of pilots for defence. This was discontinued in the 1950s. The Government then granted a pilots' training subsidy until 1961. The affiliated clubs are now the only means of entering upon an aviation career. Many pilots trained today progress to the Aviation Industry Association, topdressing, and other types of air work. A large proportion of airline pilots in New Zealand are club trained.
Clubs are now equipped with costly modern aircraft mainly of American origin. Nearly all club aircraft are also equipped with radio. Affiliated clubs of the RNZAC employ more than a hundred people as instructors, ground engineers, and clerical staff. In the year ended 31 March 1964, 57,450 hours were flown; there were 4,900 flying members of clubs, with 1,269 pupils under training and, within the structure of the RNZAC, there were 1,676 licensed private pilots and three commercial pilot schools. The RNZAC works closely with all other aviation interests, especially Royal New Zealand Air Force and the various sections of the Department of Civil Aviation.
A RNZAC Pageant is held each year in different parts of New Zealand. There are competitions for a series of trophies, and these, after preliminary elimination contests in the provinces, are keenly contested on each occasion.