Swapping Fins For Wings

Department of Defence

From the depths of the Caribbean Sea to cruising at altitude in the Army, Lieutenant Nicole Ravell has had a fulfilling journey becoming a helicopter pilot.

Scuba diving in the Caribbean during her 20s was a fun job for Nicole; however, lacking a sense of purpose was eating away at her.

In 2017, she enlisted in the Air Force, before being drawn to Army rotary wing aircraft.

Keen to fly a helicopter, Lieutenant Ravell became a student at the Joint Helicopter School, 723 Squadron, after completing her initial aviation training on fixed wing aircraft at RAAF’s 1 Flying Training School in East Sale.

Lieutenant Ravell learnt complex manoeuvres, in daylight and at night, as preparation to become a combat-ready helicopter pilot.

While getting her wings was the goal, her life changed at 723 Squadron when she married her partner, a trainee pilot in the Navy.

Together, they became homeowners, and of course, she got her wings.

“I wanted to join the ADF because I wanted to do something that actually mattered,” she said.

“Since coming to 723 Squadron, I’ve ticked off personal goals, but to be a helicopter pilot is appealing to me. To be able to do some fantastic flying while also being of service.”

After her posting at 723 Squadron, Lieutenant Ravell will specialise in becoming an Army UH-60M Black Hawk pilot.

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