Display team named for 2013
In late December the RNZAF announced its Red Checkers formation aerobatic display team for 2013. Made up of senior instructors from the Central Flying School and Pilot Training Squadron and coupled with a strong support crew, the team is led by OC Central Flying School, Sqn Ldr Oliver Bint.
The team’s history can be traced back to the late 1940s in Wigram, and it has been flying under the Red Checkers name since 1967. In addition to their full time positions during the week, flying most weekends from January until May and performing at upwards of 25 airshows and events around the country, makes for a busy time for the team members.
The Red Checkers give the New Zealand public a chance to see their military flying skills, entertaining the public while also providing public relations and recruiting opportunities for the air force. The 2013 programme was planned to kick off with a show last month at Matamata and will include displays as far north as Waitangi and as far south as Invercargill.
They fly the New Zealand-built CT-4E Airtrainer and perform a wide range of formation and solo aerobatics.
Checkers One is Sqn Ldr Oliver Bint, who joined the air force in 1995 and during his career has completed two operational tours flying the Iroquois and one on the Hercules.
Checkers Two is Flt Lt Stuart Anderson, who joined the RNZAF in 2005 and, on graduation from the Wings Course, flew Sioux and Iroquois helicopters during an operational tour on 3 Squadron.
Checkers Three, Flt Lt Matt Walls, joined the RNZAF in 1998 and after initial flying training flew the C-130 Hercules on 40 Squadron.
Checkers Four is Sqn Ldr Matt Alcock, who joined the RAF in 1990, initially flying Puma helicopters and operating from as far north as the Arctic Circle to the floodplains of Mozambique. Since moving to New Zealand in 2009 he has been flying the Airtrainer on Pilot Training Squadron and now as the flight commander at the Central Flying School.
Checkers Five, Flt Lt Jimmy Davidson, joined the air force in 2006, graduating Wings course in 2010 after spending three years at the Australian Defence Force Academy.
And finally, Checkers Six is Flt Lt Robert Cato who joined the RNZAF in 1995 and has spent the majority of his time flying the Iroquois.
The Checkers display director is WO Ash Wilson, currently a qualified aircrew instructor at the Central Flying School, responsible for training all of the air force aircrew instructors.
- Report by John King, photograph supplied by NZDF
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