Coming in to land at Darfield High School.

RNZN Commander Lands At DHS


Recently, as reported in the News, the Royal New Zealand Airforce landed at Darfield High School with their Super Seasprite helicopter.

The pilot of this helicopter, Commander Owen Rodger, was a past Darfield High School student and School Dux in 1993.

In 1994, after leaving high school, Owen joined the Royal New Zealand Air Force (RNZAF) as a General Duties Pilot.

He went on to graduate from the Wings Course in 1995 and was posted to No 3 Squadron, RNZAF Base Auckland and begun an operational tour operating UH-1H Iroquois Helicopters.

In 2002 Owen completed his Flying Instructor Course before taking up an instructing position with the Pilot Training Squadron, RNZAF Base Ohakea.

In 2003 he was posted back to No 3 Squadron as an instructor and then Flight Commander on the Iroquois.

2005 brought another change for the Commander, and he was selected for an exchange to instruct on the SH-2G(NZ) Seasprite operated by the newly formed No 6 Squadron.

On realisation that he was a sailor at heart, Commander Rodger successfully applied for a service transfer and joined the ranks of the Royal New Zealand Navy (RNZN) on June, 1st 2007 at the rank of Lieutenant Commander.

The next few years were busy ones for Commander Rodger, he became an embarked Flight Commander, No 6 Squadron Pilot Training Officer and No 6 Squadron Training Officer/Executive Officer.

During this time he saw service on HMNZS Te Mana, Te Kaha, Canterbury and Otago; managed the introduction of Night Vision Goggle capability to the Seasprite; and was the project lead and RNZN aircraft captain for the Seasprite First of Class Flight Trials with HMNZS Otago.

He has been on multiple deployments to locations including Antarctica, Bougainville, East Timor, Solomon Islands and the Persian Gulf.

Commander Rodger was posted to Capability Branch, Wellington in 2013 and subsequently Hartford, Connecticut as the Senior New Zealand Defence Force Officer on the Resident Project Team (RPT) for the recently acquired SH-2G(I).

He was responsible for oversight of the SH-2G(I) acquisition, specifically the operational elements. On completion of RPTs tasks in Connecticut, Commander Rodger was posted to Seasprite Transition Unit (STU), responsible for the Introduction into Service of the SH-2G(I).

Commander Rodger took up his current position as Commanding Officer No 6 Squadron RNZAF on April, 15th 2016 on the retirement of the SH-2G(NZ) and the amalgamation of No 6 Squadron and STU back into one unit. Apart from flying, his greatest passion is spending time with his family.