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Annika Wallin

Flight Instructor


"My dad surprised me with an introductory flight on my 16th birthday, and flying just clicked with me. I didn't plan on having it as a career, but I really liked it and continued my flight training full time until I qualified to be an instructor."

Now a C-category flying instructor at Wings Flight Training in Palmerston North, Annika Wallin teaches students who are taking their first flights through to those who are going for their commercial pilot licences.

"I teach about eight students a day – three on the ground and about five flights if it's a sunny day. But on a rainy day you have to adjust what you do to suit the weather, and teach more classes. You have to have a certain confidence level to get up in front of people and explain things. You also have to be friendly, polite, and professional."

With the worldwide boom in the aviation industry, there are more international students studying at New Zealand flight training schools, and Annika finds it adds to the challenge of the job. "Teaching the flying isn't difficult – the most challenging part for me is the language barrier with a lot of the students.

"I have to explain myself a few times before they understand. They are real bright with the groundwork, but when you are up in the air, it's a bit harder because they are trying to fly and listen to me rabbiting on telling them what to do. Normally I just bring them back on the ground and make sure they understand the lesson if they are having problems. But when you see students starting to learn new things, it's pretty cool."

Annika says it's a great time to find work as a flying instructor. "The airlines are expanding hugely since more people are travelling, and instructors are moving into airline jobs more quickly than a few years ago. So there's a big shortage of instructors at the moment, pretty much worldwide."

Annika's advice on finding a job as a flight instructor

  • Check industry websites for openings at larger flight schools, which tend to advertise online.
  • Ask people in the airline industry about openings at smaller schools, since they rely more on personal connections to find staff.
  • Ring around and see which schools have openings.
  • Print out copies of your CV and drop them off in person at flying schools.