Skip to main content
Latest COVID-19 information for passengers


Cobham Cadets 059

Cadets take to the skies for first solo flight

Cobham Aviation’s inaugural group of cadet pilots have reached a major training milestone, flying solo for the first time.

For each of them it was an almost surreal experience as they achieved their lifelong dream of flying on their own - and they’ve urged other aspiring pilots to follow in their footsteps.

They spoke excitedly about their achievement as Cobham officially opened applications for the second cadet pilot intake, commencing in early 2020. Aspiring pilots all over Australia with little to no prior flight experience are encouraged to apply.

The Cobham Cadet Pilot Program involves 53 weeks of classroom tuition and practical training at Flight Training Adelaide’s Parafield Airport facilities.

The Program was introduced by Cobham in August 2018 to create entry-level opportunities to join Cobham’s dedicated Special Mission crews. It comprises all the necessary and desirable elements to prepare cadets for the role of First Officer on Cobham’s fleet of highly-modified Dash 8 aircraft operated to conduct aerial surveillance on behalf of the Australian Government.

Cobham’s Vice President Special Mission, Russell Dyer, said: “This is not regular passenger transport flying; it’s unique, hands-on, low-level flying. Ultimately, graduates have the rare opportunity to combine their love of flying with national security and environmental protection”.

Having now completed their first solo flight, the cadets are one step closer to reaching this goal and becoming an integral part of the Cobham Special Mission team.

“We have all been itching to fly solo since day one. The feeling of passing another milestone that brings us closer to flying for Cobham and doing something that adds value to the company and the country is so motivating. That first solo flight really drives home how exciting the future is,” Tobias Fitzgerald, 25, from Queensland’s Sunshine Coast said.

His sentiments were echoed by Finn Haythornthwaite, 21, from Sydney’s inner west.

“It was quite a surreal moment when I taxied out to the runway for my first solo flight. I really enjoyed flying solo and the developing sense of responsibility and freedom that came with the achievement,” said Finn.

“This is the first of many big milestones for any trainee pilot, and I’m looking forward to building on my knowledge and experience in preparation for the next challenge.”

Ed Duhig, 24, from Brisbane added: “As a beginner pilot, the first solo is an exciting achievement. Though only a short flight, it is the culmination of a lifetime’s dream of flying. Moving forward, I’m sure I speak for all cadets in saying that we look forward to hitting further milestones in our career.”

Applications for the second cadet pilot intake will close on 25 August.

For more information, and to apply, please visit:

Above (L-R): Tobias Fitzgerald, Ed Duhig, and Finn Haythornthwaite from the first intake of the Cobham Cadet Pilot Program.