Training Pilots of the Future

Training Pilots of the Future

Kori Shinn had a dream to become a pilot of small aircraft to help drop water on Australian bush fires. Now, thanks to the Flight Training Centre in Mareeba, she is making this dream a reality.

Story and photos by Katherine Williams

Kori Shinn’s dream is to make a career out of flying smaller aircraft in general aviation. So when deciding where to train, MAF in Mareeba was the really attractive choice, as MAF has a reputation of being excellent at flying small aircraft in challenging and remote areas.

To be more specific, Kori would like to make a career out of flying over bush fires and dropping water to try and contain them. Kori is currently studying for her Commercial Pilot’s License in Mareeba. Her most recent flight was in a Cessna 172S aircraft, VH-WMC.

Kori standing with VH-WMC


Many people may not realise that the Flight Training Centre (FTC) in Mareeba train non-MAF pilots but as René Don, Operations Manager for the FTC explains, 'it is great for the instructors to be able to share their vast experience and expertise with others.' Most Mareeba instructors have flown in challenging areas and being able to share that experience is very rewarding. 'We can help pilots to fly safely in all circumstances, as well as giving them the tools to assess airstrips, weather, terrain, operations and whether or not to take off and land.' 

By 2025, MAF aims for 40% of programme pilots to be instructor pilots.

Training non-MAF pilots also helps build expertise in our training instructor team. It helps instructors to develop and grow, particularly instructor pilots that are coming through the low-hour pathway route.

By 2025, MAF aims for 40% of programme pilots to be instructor pilots. Therefore, every year the FTC will train a new instructor pilot who will instruct and build their hours at Mareeba before then serving in the field for MAF. 

René Don explains, 'It is great that MAF are engaging with the wider industry. It enables us to be a witness, showing commitment, care and heart for each other.'The instructors at Mareeba love to share the quality, high standards and safety that MAF is known for with anyone that wants to benefit from it.

Head of Training at FTC, Andy LittleThe next step for Kori is finishing her Private Pilots Licence navigational training, so this week she is flying with Head of Training, Andy Little. Andy has to attend an Awards Ceremony in Cooktown, to present an award to a student, on behalf of MAF Australia, for fundraising. This is a perfect opportunity for Kori to have more practise with Andy on a real 'mission'.  


I asked Kori how she felt about VH-WMC, and her response was that 'it was a really interesting aircraft, quicker than the other training aircraft, it climbs a lot faster and the automation was really useful. The digital number instruments such as air speed and altitude were great. All the information is readily available in one spot. Overall, a very stable and steady aircraft.'