Central Flying School
The Central Flying School (CFS) is the smallest flying unit in the RNZAF. The school gets its name from the Central Flying School of the Royal Air Force and an official affiliation between the two schools was approved by Her Majesty the Queen on 7 January 1957.
The primary role of CFS is the training of Qualified Flying Instructors (QFI) for the New Zealand Defence Force, and to provide the audit function for maintenance and inspection of standards of flying instruction within the RNZAF. CFS currently operates the T-6C Texan II aircraft, which are also operated by No. 14 Squadron. The school also operates the RNZAF’s Historic Aircraft Flight, which provides selected instructors with experience on older types of aircraft, such as the Harvard and Tiger Moth.
One of the most public roles of CFS is the formation and display work carried out by the RNZAF’s only aerobatic team. From 1967 to 1973, the ‘Red Checkers’ team operated the North American Harvard aircraft. Unfortunately following an international fuel crisis in 1973, the team was disbanded. In 1980 the display team was reformed, this time operating the CT-4B Airtrainer. In 1999 the CT-4Bs were replaced with the CT-4E Airtrainer, and the ‘Red Checkers’ team continued to perform annually until 2013. In 2014, the RNZAF replaced the aging Airtrainers with the T-6C Texan II. Following its introduction into Service in 2015, the RNZAF Aerobatic Team was reformed and renamed as the ‘Black Falcons’ – a nod towards the No. 14 Squadron association and appropriate given the colour of the Texans! The Black Falcons perform a five aircraft routine and made their debut public appearance at the Ohakea Air Tattoo in February 2017.