Flying visit to her hometown Show

HIGH FLYER: Flight lieutenant Penny Khull is pictured in the A109 helicopter in Fiji when she went there to assist after Cyclone Winston in 2016. Picture supplied

Gisborne-born Penny Khull is the first female pilot to fly the NH90, the New Zealand Defence Force’s largest helicopter . . . and she’s coming to the Poverty Bay A&P Spring Show.

Penny has been in the Royal New Zealand Air Force for nine years and became a captain on the smaller Agusta A109 in July.

“We are bringing the A109 to Gisborne to show the public our aircraft and talk to them about what we do for a job.”

Penny knew she wanted to fly from a young age.

“The thought of being up in the air always intrigued me growing up. It gave me a sense of freedom. Even before I had ever been in a plane, I knew it was something I wanted to pursue.”

Becoming a pilot in the air force was challenging and all pilots faced similar pressures to upgrade to captaincy.

“Being female, you tend to stand out a little bit more but I have been given the same opportunities and treated the same as my male counterparts.”

“When you learn to fly in the air force, you learn fixed wing aeroplanes, then following the wings course (pilot course) you get streamed into either rotary or fixed wing. I was streamed rotary and now fly helicopters.”

There were so many great opportunities within the air force and one advantage was getting paid to train, she said.

She enjoys the variety of jobs and roles the air force provides.

“Each day brings something new to learn. My job has taken me all around New Zealand and I was deployed to Fiji in 2016 following Cyclone Winston, flying the NH90.”

Penny will be joined by a co-pilot and helicopter loadmaster at the A&P Show.

Her aunt, Karen MacGregor, is looking forward to getting a personal tour of the A109, with other family members.

“We are very excited and so very proud of Penny,” she said.

“She has always stated so matter of factly, since she was a young child, that she was going to grow up to be a pilot.

“She has worked very hard to achieve this goal and absolutely excelled along the way.”

Karen remembers Penny working after school and in the holidays to enable her to pay for flying lessons when she was a teenager.

“She has always been so focused on this career.”

Gisborne-born Penny Khull is the first female pilot to fly the NH90, the New Zealand Defence Force’s largest helicopter . . . and she’s coming to the Poverty Bay A&P Spring Show.

Penny has been in the Royal New Zealand Air Force for nine years and became a captain on the smaller Agusta A109 in July.

“We are bringing the A109 to Gisborne to show the public our aircraft and talk to them about what we do for a job.”

Penny knew she wanted to fly from a young age.

“The thought of being up in the air always intrigued me growing up. It gave me a sense of freedom. Even before I had ever been in a plane, I knew it was something I wanted to pursue.”

Becoming a pilot in the air force was challenging and all pilots faced similar pressures to upgrade to captaincy.

“Being female, you tend to stand out a little bit more but I have been given the same opportunities and treated the same as my male counterparts.”

“When you learn to fly in the air force, you learn fixed wing aeroplanes, then following the wings course (pilot course) you get streamed into either rotary or fixed wing. I was streamed rotary and now fly helicopters.”

There were so many great opportunities within the air force and one advantage was getting paid to train, she said.

She enjoys the variety of jobs and roles the air force provides.

“Each day brings something new to learn. My job has taken me all around New Zealand and I was deployed to Fiji in 2016 following Cyclone Winston, flying the NH90.”

Penny will be joined by a co-pilot and helicopter loadmaster at the A&P Show.

Her aunt, Karen MacGregor, is looking forward to getting a personal tour of the A109, with other family members.

“We are very excited and so very proud of Penny,” she said.

“She has always stated so matter of factly, since she was a young child, that she was going to grow up to be a pilot.

“She has worked very hard to achieve this goal and absolutely excelled along the way.”

Karen remembers Penny working after school and in the holidays to enable her to pay for flying lessons when she was a teenager.

“She has always been so focused on this career.”

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