BRAD GREENSHIELDS | Coffs Coast Advocate
But the tireless days, long nights and early morning starts while at professional pilot training were a small price to pay in comparison to what they have achieved.
Of the thousands who applied for the cadet training course, only the creme de la creme were chosen. Some even had to choose between their studies in university and pilot school.
Cadet Philip Polum left an Applied Physics course in the final year to pursue this career.
"It was always my dream to be a pilot and I have always worked towards that my whole life," Philip said.
Under the sponsorship of Papua New Guinea's airline, Air Niugini, the cadets were able to fulfil their dream.
Upon their return to PNG, they'll undergo further training to become first officers on Dash 8 aircraft.
Fellow cadet Alwas Popo said the opportunity to fly over the Coffs Coast has been a truly magnificent experience but the friendships forged has been a greater reward.
"We haven't only enjoyed your skies and the weather here, we've made heaps of friends and I don't think we'll ever forget the memories we've made here," Alwas said.