“I’ve wanted to fly ever since I was about six years old,” said 24-year old Pilot Officer Kim Shearman, now well on the way to becoming an elite RAAF fighter pilot.
Kim is currently based with No 76 Squadron at RAAF Williamtown (Newcastle) where he is doing the introductory fighter course on Hawk 127 jets, the lead-in trainer for the F/A-18 Hornet and Super Hornet front-line fighter aircraft.
“I’ve flown about 100 hours so far in the Hawk, but it will be another year or so before I finish training and can graduate to the Hornet,” said Kim.
This followed his initial RAAF pilot course of about 140 hours on the familiar red and white turbo-prop Pilatus PC-9/A which gained Kim his Air Force pilot wings at RAAF Base Pearce.
Kim owes much of his career aspirations success to the superb grounding he got in the Australian Air Force Cadets in Western Australia.
“I joined the AAFC (formerly Air Training Corps) at age 13 and am still an auxiliary member; training as a Cadet for seven years, and then remaining on as an instructor until I joined Air Force just under three years ago.”
During his AAFC career, Kim participated in two separate overseas Cadet exchanges to The Netherlands and France, visited Gallipoli as awardee of the Ellie Tibble Memorial Scholarship, and chaired the national Cadet Reference Group which represents the interests of Cadets to the adult leadership team and Air Force.
“No other organisation in Australia is even close to delivering the developmental opportunities available to teenage Air Force Cadets,” said Kim.
Kim first flew an aircraft solo when he completed the AAFC’s twice-yearly Elementary Flying Training Course for gliding at Cunderin at the legal minimum age of 15 years. He then came back the following year to qualify solo in powered flying in a Cessna 152 aircraft.
The powered solo qualification was Kim’s lead in to RACWA where, in just two years, he earned his private pilot licence and then commercial pilot licence. He continued to give back to the Cadets by piloting the aircraft used to launch gliders at Cunderdin.
“I’ve willingly signed on with the Air Force for more than 11 years and am experiencing a level of flying enjoyment and satisfaction that you just can’t pay for; while at the same time looking forward to serving and protecting Australia,” said Kim.
“My advice? Aim high and consider yourself worthy of achieving great things.”
RAAF Pilot Officer Kim Shearman flies the Hawk 127 jet