Born and bred in Bundaberg, Kered James always had dreams of flying high and now the pilot has taken to the air after recently being issued his wings with the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF).
Kered, who now resides in Melbourne, touched down in his hometown yesterday as part of a flying exercise in the RAAF King Air he pilots.
The visit was the perfect opportunity to chat to a few CQUniversity aviation students about his endeavors and also catch up with his family.
The 27-year-old said he had recently obtained his wings and had been pilot of the aircraft for three months after years of tests and training – a path he admitted was tough to overcome.
“I applied for the RAAF when I was in grade 12 but I got turned back,” he said.
“I applied again when I finished my trade at 23 but I was turned back again so I had to go back to university and prove my aptitude.
Finally I received my acceptance letter when I was 24.”
32 Squadron KA350 King Air
Kered said he was part of a multi-role squadron responsible for ACO training, image acquisition and surveillance and VIP transport.
According to the RAAF, there are 12 KA350 King Airs that belong to 32 Squadron.
The KA350 King Air aircraft provides the Air Force with a flexible light passenger and cargo transport capability within Australia and support fisheries patrol activities in the South East Asia and Pacific regions.
When asked what he loved most about being in charge of the plane, Kered said the feeling of being free was a hard thing to beat.
“It is free, it is liberating,” he said.
“We were coming in over Childers and everything looked so different, it's an amazing feeling.”
Looking to the future, the Bundaberg man said a long career with the RAAF was the goal, but where was still the question of exactly what form that may take.
“Half of me wants to go jet…,” he said.
“… the other half of me wants to fly a transport plane.”
Kered said he was thrilled to have achieved his dream of obtaining his wings and had one tip for those wishing to follow the same path.
“Don't give up. It's a lot of hard work but just don't give up,” he said.
“I have never met anyone who has made it and flown something really cool who then regretted putting the effort in.”
- Related stories: Bundaberg Gliding Club takes off with CQU Aviation