High-flyer Finlay fulfils lifelong ambition

30 Jan 2024

Finlay Adam (14526) is living the dream.

Flying Officer FJ Adam recently graduated as a pilot with the Royal New Zealand Air Force after more than two years of training.

Now based in Ohakea near Palmerston North in 42 Squadron, he is initially flying a twin-engine Beechcraft King Air 350 before moving onto the C-130J Hercules.

“My dream was always to become a pilot. I’ve always been fascinated watching air shows, and loved flying toy planes around the bedroom floor, reading books and watching movies about aircraft and nothing else,” Finlay recalls.

“When I was about eight years old, a family friend sat me in my dream plane, the P-40 Kittyhawk. I'm very fortunate that my life's passion is now my career. As they say, if you do something you love, you'll never have to work a day in your life.

“To any Christ's College lad that's not sure what to do for a career, have a think about what your dream job would be. Think of who you want to be in the future, what you'd like to achieve, your goals. If you haven't thought about any of these, now is the time. Before you know it, you'll be out of College and into the real world. So get ready to grab it by the horns,” Finlay says.

After leaving Christ’s College in 2017, Finlay headed to Massey University School of Aviation where he attained all of his civilian licences and ratings during the first two years, choosing a management option in the third year to complete his Bachelor of Aviation (Air Transport Pilot) in 2020.

“Massey University School of Aviation provided a heavily challenging theory aspect and some fun flying. Once I'd branched out into the Air Force, the initial officer training was orientated around discipline, becoming a leader and understanding how the Defence Force works behind the scenes,” Finlay says.

“Wings Course required long hours, lots of study and a determination like no other. The memories I've made during some of the most challenging parts, are moments I'll never forget. And it's nice to know hard work pays off.”

Finlay believes that when it comes to becoming a pilot in the Air Force, it isn't how well you did at university or high school. It is far more about who you are as a person, leader and aviator, as well as your commitment to learning and growing each of these.