MAVERICK: Brooke Adams from Rockhampton Girls Grammar School in the Hornet immersive simulator; (inset) Abbey Fenton, Flight Lt Kylie Willmott and Maddy Price on the air traffic control simulator.
MAVERICK: Brooke Adams from Rockhampton Girls Grammar School in the Hornet immersive simulator; (inset) Abbey Fenton, Flight Lt Kylie Willmott and Maddy Price on the air traffic control simulator. Jann Houley

A Top Gun experience for RGGS students

IT'S NOT every day you see high school students at the wheel of an F/A-18F Super Hornet but yesterday, that is exactly what happened.

The Royal Australian Air Force is touring an air force simulator experience, allowing students from across Queensland the chance to gain some hands on experience in air force roles, including air traffic controlling and piloting fighter jets.

Today it was Rockhampton Girls Grammar School's turn.

Abbey Fenton, Flight Lt Kylie Willmott and Maddy Price on the air traffic control simulator at Rockhampton Girls Grammar School
Abbey Fenton, Flight Lt Kylie Willmott and Maddy Price on the air traffic control simulator at Rockhampton Girls Grammar School Jann Houley

Coco Doblo was buzzing with energy as she left the immersive simulator after piloting the super hornet.

She said she was shocked by the speed and manoeuvrability of the aircraft.

"It was so realistic, so I thought it was really cool,” she said.

Abbey Fenton, Flight Lt Kylie Willmott and Maddy Price on the air traffic control simulator at Rockhampton Girls Grammar School
Abbey Fenton, Flight Lt Kylie Willmott and Maddy Price on the air traffic control simulator at Rockhampton Girls Grammar School Jann Houley

"I was really nervous at first but it turned out to be not too hard.

"You see them up in the air and they don't look to be going too fast but when you're in there, you see how fast they are actually going.”

Coco said before the simulator experience, she had never even considered a possible career in the air force, but her faux-flight had changed her outlook.

"I will definitely take it into consideration now,” she said.

"It was a really great opportunity.”

Emma Jones and Hannah Goodwin on the flight simulator at Rockhampton Girls Grammar School
Emma Jones and Hannah Goodwin on the flight simulator at Rockhampton Girls Grammar School Jann Houley

The realisation of a potential career path among students had been a recurring theme of feedback for Sergeant Brad Postle who had been touring the simulator around regional Queensland.

"Most of the feedback is that it far exceeds what they were expecting,” Sgt Postle said.

"They go out hugely excited, muchly inflated and think that this is absolutely a career that they should be considering.

"We want to put the good word out and see if it's something they would want to do that is quite squarely in their realms of achievement.”

He said the RAAF had endeavoured to make the simulators "as real as possible” which was made evident by the high quality landscapes displayed on screen, modelled cockpits and even air force head wear.

Regional students were also far more receptive to the simulations and were more appreciative of the opportunity according to Sgt Postle.