Thursday, 26 November 2020


Former MBAS student's trip to Whitianga in a Diamond

When former Mercury Bay Area School student, Jordan Williams, landed at Whitianga Airport last Sunday afternoon, his family was there to welcome him.

Jordan is in his third year of studying for a Bachelor’s Degree in Aviation at Massey University in Palmerston North. Upon completion of his studies, he will be the holder of a commercial pilot’s licence and an instructor’s rating. He would also have completed an airline pilot’s transition course.

As part of his studies, Jordan is required to complete a 300nm cross country flight and, for him, Whitianga was the obvious destination. He undertook the flight in one of Massey’s fleet of 12 Diamond DA40 four-seater aircraft. His girlfriend, Ellen Gudsell, accompanied him on the trip.

It may well be the first time one of Massey’s Diamonds visited Whitianga.

For mum, Justine, Jordan’s arrival in Whitianga was nerve-racking. “I haven’t seen Jordan land since he learned to fly when he was in Year 13,” she says.  

Jordan was part of the second Vans RV12 aeroplane build undertaken by a group of MBAS students and community mentors. He was one of three students in the group who flew solo in ZK-MBA, the first Vans RV12 built by the Mercury Bay Student Aviation Trust (a joint venture between MBAS and the Mercury Bay Aero Club).

“I’ve always been passionate about aeroplanes,” says Jordan. “The MBAS aeroplane build was a fantastic opportunity. In addition to giving me a better understanding of the science behind and the engineering involved in aviation, it fuelled my desire to become a pilot even further. I think it’s awesome that school students can learn to fly here in Whitianga.”

Upon completion of his degree, Jordan would like to become an instructor for a few years. Ideally he would like to follow that with flying for a small, independent airline. “I most probably will end up flying for a large carrier one day,” he says. “But I’m in no hurry getting there. I like general aviation, flying in and out of smaller airfields, and, when it comes to my career, thoroughly believe in making the journey as enjoyable as the destination.

“One thing is certain, I wake up every morning excited about the day ahead of me.

“Aviation is an exciting career path, offering a wide variety of opportunities. I want to encourage all the MBAS students interested in aeroplanes to investigate what they can do with their lives. They shouldn’t think for a moment their dreams are out of reach. Almost anything is possible, they just have to believe in themselves.”

As part of his trip to Whitianga on Sunday, Jordan had to make two landings. His first, at Feilding, was simply a land, taxi around and take off again exercise. His second landing, at Taupo, was a refuelling stop.

“The Diamond is a beautiful aeroplane, both to look at and in the way it performs,” says Jordan. “Ellen and had a very pleasant flight to Whitianga. There was a bit of excitement when we were going past Whangamata and another pilot asked us to keep an eye out for an orca that may have been entangled in some rope.”

After having spent Sunday evening with his parents and sister at their family home outside Hot Water Beach, Jordan and Ellen flew back to Palmerston North on Monday this week. Jordan will be the first former MBAS student to obtain the Massey University Bachelor’s Degree in Aviation.

Pictured: Jordan Williams at the Massey University Diamond DA40 aeroplane he flew to Whitianga last Sunday.


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