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Official Guide to the Government Court: N.Z. Centennial Exhibition

[Air Foce (cont.)]

From 1924, the permanent personnel were kept busy, for in addition to training the Territorial Air Force they carried out a great deal of valuable air survey-work on behalf of the Government Departments and local bodies throughout the Dominion. They also co-operated with the Military and Naval Forces in their normal training programme, and, in addition, were galled upon to carry out multifarious duties in connection with Civil Aviation, e.g., courses for ground engineers, testing of pilots, inspection of aerodromes and landing grounds.

From 1928 onwards, the development of the Aero Club movement gave added impetus to all forms of air activity. The clubs, which were formed with the general object of the advancement of aviation, performed most valuable work in training pilots in light aeroplanes.

Air Force pilots rendered valuable services during the Murchison earthquake in June, 1929. Aircraft worked from the beaches, flying in all weathers, carrying urgent medical stores, wireless equipment and officials of the Health and Public Works Departments.

In 1929, the Territorial Air Force was organised as a wing consisting of four squadrons, while R.A.F. titles were adopted as from December of that year.

In January, 1930, the New Zealand Permanent Air Force had its first experience of service operations. An officer and two mechanics, with a De Havilland Moth Seaplane equipped with wireless, proceeded in the H.M.S. Dunedin to Samoa, where it carried out valuable reconnaissance work during the Mau trouble. Air Force and Aero Club pilots rendered wonderful service during the earthquake in Hawke's Bay. Between February 4 and 15, 1931, 22 light aeroplanes flew approximately 45,000 miles.

On February 27, 1934, the New Zealand Permanent Air Force was re-designated the "Royal New Zealand Air Force", and two years later the services.of a senior officer of the R.A.F. were made available to advise the Government on the organisation and development of air defence.

The most historic year in the annals of the Dominion Air Force proved to be 1937. The Air Station at Wigram was re-organised as a Flying Training School, and the training of pilots for both R.N.Z.A.F. and R.A.F. was commenced, and the base at Hobsonville was allotted the task of training the ground personnel. Of greatest importance was the passing, during 1937, of two Acts of Parliament, the one setting up an Air Department to deal with all air matters, and the other constituting the R.N.Z.A.F., administered by its own Air Board instead of by the Army Board as in the past.

Since 1937 the R.N.Z.A.F. has extended rapidly in personnel, equipment and stations.

Under the control of the Civil Aviation Section of the Air Department, commercial aviation has made equally rapid progress. Airlines now function throughout the Dominion to regular time-tables, and have built up an excellent record of safety, punctuality and confidence.

Under the same control, aero clubs throughout New Zealand have advanced on parallel lines of efficiency and service, not only to the members, but to the nation and Empire, in givinq initial instruction to ever-increasing numbers of candidates for the R.N.Z.A.F. and R.A.F.

All branches of aviation are subject to the control and examination of the Air Department which, by a regular exchange with the Air Ministry of officers (both Air Forces and Civil), keeps the standard of air activity to the highest degree of efficiency.

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