Aaron Rogers in front of an NH90 at Raumati South School. Photo / David Haxton
Schoolboy Aaron Rogers loves everything about aviation.
Ask him a question about military and civilian aircraft and chances are he will have the answer.
One day, while immersed in his hobby, he had an idea.
He knew some schools around the country were visited by Royal New Zealand Airforce helicopters.
What if he asked the RNZAF if one could visit his school?
There was only one way to find out and that was to pen a letter and keep his fingers crossed.
He talked to principal Martin Hett about the idea, even creating a slide show for added emphasis, which left Hett dutifully impressed.
Aaron then composed his letter to the RNZAF, some of which read that a visit would tie in with study about the Earth’s special forces, it would be interesting to know what the RNZAF did during natural disasters, learn how a helicopter operated, and that a number of pupils were interested in military aircraft and the RNZAF.
Not long afterwards, Aaron, 12, received a letter from RNZAF Flight Lieutenant Rob Kenyon, who is an NH90 pilot at 3SQN RNZAF Base Ohakea.
They would love to visit Raumati South School and would be in touch with a date and time.
Today, a tick before 1100 hours, with all the school’s children sitting safely on one side of the lower playing field, the unmistakable sound of a helicopter approaching was heard.
Pupils’ excitement grew with many hands pointing towards the sky as a black dot got bigger and bigger.
Suddenly a RNZAF NH90 helicopter was encircling the school before landing in the middle of the field.
After the helicopter shut down, the crew got out and greeted the students.
“We love doing this,” Kenyon told the pupils.
Pupils were allowed to check out the chopper and ask questions.
Aaron, who dressed up in military fatigues for the occasion, was thrilled with the visit and had a smile from ear to ear.
Among the students were two special guests – Aaron’s mum and dad – Jane and Dillon Rogers.
“We’re very proud of him,” Jane said. “He’s done this all by himself.”
Aaron’s aviation interest has been fostered in recent years.
“He’s got lots of model planes, has a flight simulator on his PlayStation, and sometimes we go up to Ohakea to watch the planes land or to Wellington Airport.
“You ask him anything about a plane and he’ll be able to tell you.”
It was a big day for Aaron who no doubt will be keen to tell his uncle Mark Wilson, who is an Apache helicopter pilot with the British Army Air Corps, all about it.