All of the unit’s staff are volunteers. Our staff are split into two categories – Officers and NCOs (Non Commissioned Officers). Below are the profiles of the current Officer staff, their qualifications, interest and goals.
Officers go through a rigorous selection and training scheme before being accepted as a Cadet Force officer and receiving a commission from the Minister of Defence. Officers may have made their way through the ranks from a cadet or be a suitable adult volunteer.
It is the unit officers that have official responsibility for cadets – their safety, welfare and training.
Flying Officer Sophie Webber
Flying Officer Webber is the Unit Commander of No. 1 Squadron. She joined the Air Training Corps in 2008 as a cadet and worked her way through all of the cadet ranks at No. 2 (Hutt City) Squadron which included holding the rank and position of Squadron Warrant Officer. She transferred to No.1 Squadron as an Under Officer in July 2012 .
She was commissioned as an Officer in November 2012, attended the Instructional Technique and Training Management course in August 2013, the Command Course in September 2015 and the Range Conducting officer’s Course in June 2016. She has staffed many Cadet leadership courses through her NZCF career. Several of these being Senior NCO courses, in the role of Adjutant or Course Director over both Central and Northern Areas. She has also been chosen as staff on NZCF Officer’s courses such as the Instructional Technique and Training Management Course in August 2014 and the Commissioning Course in November 2014, June 2015 and November 2015. She completed the NZCF Command Course in September 2015 to confirm her appointment as Unit Commander.
Pilot Officer Stuart Mudd
Pilot Officer Stuart Mudd, joined No. 1 Squadron with the intention of becoming a member of the Officer staff. He came to us from the UK, where he joined as a cadet in 1997, rising through all the ranks until becoming a Civilian Instructor in 2005. As a UK cadet at 872 (Hull West) SQN he has been to Norway, Holland for the Nijmegen Marches (twice) and Australia with IACE. He has completed gliding and flying scholarships to his first solo flight, parachute training to his first solo jump, obtained Bronze, Silver and Gold Duke of Edinburgh Awards and attended various camps, courses and expeditions. He obtained the honorary position of Lord Lieutenant’s Cadet (Queen’s county representative) in 2002. From 2005 as a CI he was the Training Officer, Band Master (side snare & bass drum) and Adventure Training Officer, not always all at the same time.
He emigrated to NZ in 2010 and has returned to the Air Training Corps after a brief hiatus. In November 2015 he attended the NZCF Officer’s Commissioning Course and the Range Conducting Officer’s course in June 2016. He is currently the Executive Officer and he endeavours to offer more expedition opportunities to cadets.
Pilot Officer Alastair Helm
PLTOFF Helm first joined No.1 Squadron in 2009 as a Cadet and rose through the NCO ranks to Flight Sergeant. He left the Squadron in early 2013 to allow time for work as a swimming instructor before moving to Christchurch for a year to study Engineering. He rejoined the 1SQN in May 2015 as a Civilian Instructor.
Prior to leaving the Unit, PLTOFF Helm completed Junior and Senior NCO courses in 2011 and 2012 respectively, along with these two leaderships courses he has also finished the Bushcraft course at RNZAF Dipflat in the Nelson Lakes. PLTOFF Helm completed the NZCF Officer’s Commissioning Course in November 2016. He has since completed the Officer Bushcraft course at Tekapo and RCO course which qualifies him to take Cadets on expeditions in the bush as well as shooting at a range. He is currently the Stores Officer for 1 Squadron.
Pilot Officer Clara Whitcombe
PLTOFF Whitcombe is transferred in to No. 1 Squadron in 2015 as an Under Officer. She is studying Law at Victoria University. She hails from the West Coast of the South Island. She went through all the ranks at No. 36 (Greymouth) Squadron, including Warrant Officer. She completed the Junior and Senior Non-Commissioned Officer courses in 2011 and 2012 respectively. She completed the Cadet Bushcraft course in 2013 and in 2014 travelled to Canada through the IACE program. She is the Admin officer for 1Squadron.
Pilot Officer Henri Raaijen
Prior to commissioning in May 2017 he completed a number of Cadet courses including the Junior and Senior NCO’s courses, National Gliding course, National Aviation course and the Aeronautical Navigation course.
PLTOFF Raaijen is currently the Training Officer at 1 Squadron. The part of this role that he enjoys is the planning of activities, general unit operation and the continuous development of Cadets skills.
Under Officer Riona Minchin-McClennan
Under Officer Minchin-McClennan joined No 1 Squadron in early February of 2012. She successfully completed the Central Area Junior Non Commissioned Officer’s course in September of 2014. She was then promoted to Corporal in December of 2014. In July of 2015 UO Minchin-McClennan successfully completed the Central Area Senior Non Commissioned Officer’s course. She was subsequently promoted to Sergeant.
UO Minchin-McClennan then transferred to No. 21 Squadron ATC in August of 2015. Whilst at No. 21 Squadron she quickly became the Flight Sergeant for No. 1 Flight. During her time at the unit she lead the 2015 No. 21 Squadron Davy Drill team in the Central Area Davy Drill Memorial competition, teaching all of the necessary drill movements to the cadets herself. In August of 2016 UO Minchin-McClennan was prompted to Flight Sergeant, and returned to No. 1 Squadron.
UO Minchin-McClennan attended the Central Area Junior Non Commissioned Officer’s course as a cadet staff during September of 2016. She really enjoyed this opportunity to teach, learn, and pass her knowledge onto the students present on the course.
UO Minchin-McClennan is very keen on all aspects of ATC, but particularly enjoys sharing her knowledge with the cadets. She is a keen instructor and very much enjoys mentoring the Junior NCO’s at the unit, on top of this she is the Basic Flight Commander.
Under Officer Ally Ferguson
She attended the Central Area Junior Non-Commissioned Officers Course in October 2015, where she was awarded Top Cadet in her section. Subsequently, she was promoted to CPL. In July 2016, she completed the Central Area Senior Non-Commissioned Officers Course, where she was again awarded Top Cadet in her section. She was promoted to the rank of Sergeant in July 2016.
UO Ferguson aspires to take her skills and knowledge she has learnt throughout the years and apply them as she trains less experienced Cadets. At the end of 2015, at the Squadron’s annual prizegiving, UO Ferguson was awarded two awards,Top Advanced Flight Cadet and Most Promising NCO.
UO Ferguson attended the National Aviation Course, Navigation course in January 2016. Where she spent ten days living at RNZAF Base Woodbourne navigating planes around the Marlborough Sounds. She was taught practical and theoretical Air Navigation Training, which included calculating speed/distance/time, Navigation chart reading and plotting. In completing the course, she has received her Navigation badge.