Sky’s the limit for Champion Bay student

Geoff VivianGeraldton Guardian
Air Force caded Syrah Boryczewski and RAAF jet pilot trainer Flt Lt Sue Freeman.
Camera IconAir Force caded Syrah Boryczewski and RAAF jet pilot trainer Flt Lt Sue Freeman. Credit: Geoff Vivian/The Geraldton Guardian, Geoff Vivian

A Year 10 student was sold on becoming a jet pilot after meeting a female flying instructor at the RAAF centenary open day on Thursday.

Champion Bay Senior High School’s Syrah Boryczewski has been an air force cadet for three years.

“I like being a leader and I really get to push my leadership skills during cadets,” she said.

“You get to meet a lot of long-term friends — it’s amazing, it’s something I’d recommend.”

In her first year with the cadets, Syrah said she was sent away for a national field craft competition in which the unit came second representing WA, and later took part in a drill competition at Leeuwin Barracks.

She said she fell in love with the Defence Force when she joined the cadets, but was not sure what she wanted to do until she met Flight-Lt Sue Freeman.

“I’m here to try and make it obvious that female air crew is a possibility for all girls,” Flight-Lt Freeman said. “There are few jobs where you get paid to go flying — if I had my time again I’d do it all over again.”

Flight-Lt Freeman joined the RAAF after a career in the British Royal Air Force, where she became a flying instructor.

“I had reached the end of my time in the RAF and decided I was going to get a real job,” she said with a wry smile. “A spot in WA on 79 Squadron was offered to me and my face fitted.”

She now teaches the first stages of fast flying to pilots at RAAF Base Pearce, north-east of Perth.

Flight-Lt Freeman said she joined the RAF at 19, but she recommended aspiring pilots consider the Australian Defence Force Academy to start their careers.

You are paid to get a degree, you don’t have to rely on the Bank of Mum and Dad

“With a healthy return (of) service for the investment they have already made in you, if you’ve got the aptitude and the skill, you can start flying straight away.”

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