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Australian Region Newsletter

Christmas 2022
Chairman's Message
Dear Fellow Members,
October – November 2022 has been an extraordinary period with events that have touched us all. This report to you of itself indicates the extent of our activities.

The sad passing of our much respected and admired past Chairman and general aviation giant personality, GA (Peter) Lloyd, fittingly marks this remarkable period. I was greatly honoured to know Peter personally through my connections with my family and through our previous shared Presidency of the Royal Aero Club of NSW, from which Peter grew first to National and then to international recognition. He was an extraordinary figure indeed.

Another sad milestone is the recent passing of our member the late Honourable A. A. (Tony) Street. Mr. Street was an enthusiastic Victorian member of the Honourable Company. (His father was Minister for the Army in the Australian Cabinet Member in the Menzies’ Government in August 1940, when he died in the terrible air crash at Fairbairn airport).

Then, after years of the imposition of COVID-19 lockdowns, we had the great and personal pleasure of meeting the Master of the Honourable Company, Captain Robin Keegan and his charming wife, Eileen, for their tour of Australia from 8 to 27 November 2022. Their attendance at celebratory dinners and meetings of members at Canberra, Sydney, Maroochydore, Brisbane, Melbourne, and Adelaide put a very memorable face on the British leadership of our Company and their presence was a pleasure for all.

 At the Members’ Dinner in Canberra, the Grand Master’s Australian Medal was presented to Group Captain Tim Sloane, representing the RAAF Centenary Fly-past Team, by the Master. Captain Rob Dicker, our Immediate Past Chairman (Australia) was presented with the Award of the Master’s Trophy for the Australian Region. His contribution to the successful visit of the Master was of the highest quality.

At Canberra, thanks to the careful stewardship of Group Captain Peter Norford, Canberra timings were smoothly managed and the Master was introduced to significant officers of Government: particularly, the CEO of CASA, Ms. Pip Spence; Air Commodore Peter Thompson of the RAAF;  Angus Mitchell of the ATSB; Mr. Peter Curran of Airservices Australia; and Mr. Richard Wood of the Department of Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development, Communications and the Arts. I had the benefit of attending each of these meetings and can report that the interests of the Honourable Company in Australia are well-known to the Australian Government and its opinions and views, though not political, are taken most seriously.
I extend my personal thanks to each of those government officers who gave so much time to consider the contribution of the Honourable Company to Australian aviation.

Master and Eileen then travelled to “Wings over Illawarra” where Captain Bob de La Hunty, President of the Historic Aircraft Restoration Society, together with Captain Rob Dicker, provided a most informative tour of this nationally important organisation. The Australian Aviation Hall of Fame was also inspected. (The Master was later to meet its Chairman, Mr. Steve Padgett when the Master was introduced to the Queensland Members of our Australian Region). A highlight of the afternoon was the balboa of 15 military aircraft and the appearance of an example of Australia’s recently acquired F-35A, which delivered a thunderous presentation indeed. 

After a free day in Sydney the
Master and Eileen paid a visit to Toll’s Aeromedical Crewing Excellence Training Centre at Bankstown. Together with several members, we were treated to an extensive tour of this world-class training facility by Ms Diane Tremain, Head of Marketing, Media and Sponsorship. The tour was even more poignant for the Master and Eileen as their son works as a HEMS doctor in the UK.

The following day the
Master and Eileen were joined by several Sydney members for an informal lunch at a restaurant, right on the beach at Manly.

On arrival in Brisbane the Master and Eileen were met by  Queensland Working Group Chairman Jon Minns and Working Group Secretary, Captain John Howie. After settling into their accommodation, they were taken on a tour of Aviation Australia’s premises, hosted by Captain Pat Murray and to Smartship Australia, a world-class ship simulator centre serving the global maritime industry.

The following day the tours of Aviation High, part of the Queensland Aerospace Gateway to Industry Schools Program, and the Royal Flying Doctor Service, Queensland section, were undertaken. As a former King Air pilot, the Master was particularly interested in the RFDS operation of these aircraft.

Maroochydore was the next point of the visit of the Master and Eileen. They met Mr. Nathan Higgins, his wife, and staff of Advanced Flight Theory, one of our nation’s leading aviation theory and coaching organisations. We were hosted to a light lunch with his very professional staff, where the philosophy of aviation training was discussed. After this, Steve Padgett conducted the Master on a tour of his facility at Maroochydore. The conclusion of the day was a tour of the Queensland Air Museum at Caloundra with its centrepiece of a F-111 in the finest presentation. Also notable in the collection is the airframe of the Beech/Raytheon ‘Starship,’ a manufacturing breakthrough aircraft where almost none remain in the world and its all-composite aft-facing engine mounts almost call out for PT-6 engines.
The Queensland Working Group dinner, held in Brisbane, was an excellent affair, managed most effectively by Captain Jon Minns and, MC for the evening, Captain John Howie. The Master presented the Australian Bi-Centennial award to Steve Padgett. Also present was our HCAPA Treasurer Deborah Evans and her husband Rick, who had come from Cairns to Brisbane for the occasion.

After that, Captain Keegan and Eileen travelled to Melbourne, where a convivial lunch was held at the Royal Victorian Automobile Club and hosted by Captain Mike Davidson. Thanks to former Australian Region Chair, John Whittington for organising the venue, which was very accommodating. Again, I had the pleasure of accompanying the Master and Eileen, and farewelled them on their trip to Adelaide, after an inspection of the Air Traffic Control centre at Melbourne hosted by Terry Fulton, Director of Operations, Terminal Services – South for Airservices Australia.

In Adelaide, under the care and company of Dr. Paul Dare, Chairman of the South Australian Working Group and ably assisted by Rob Moore, the dinner at the Naval, Military and Air Force Club of South Australia was well attended and a great success. First Officer Keith Wright was presented with a certificate recognising his ATPL Scholarship, awarded in this year’s scholarship program from our Education Trust. Over the preceding days a tour of the ancient Ediacaran life-form artefacts of the Adelaide Museum was conducted, with Colleen Moore as hostess.  The Master also visited Flight Training Adelaide, which he found most impressive. Barbara Trappett most generously was chauffeur and much appreciated. The traditional spot landing competition held at Aldinga Airfield became, due to weather, a flying circuit competition and was won equally by Roger Lang and Rob Moore. The associated BBQ and well-known outdoor conviviality of South Australia was provided.

From there, on Sunday 27 November, the Master and Eileen left us for Auckland, where they were passed into the care of the New Zealand Region for the last part of their Southern Hemisphere tour.

It only remains for me to wish all of you a Joyous Christmas and a prosperous and healthy 2023.

Yours sincerely,
Spencer Ferrier
Regional Chairman
Honourable Company of Air Pilots
SYDNEY   NSW   Australia
2022 Trophies and Awards
Trophies and Awards for the Australian Region were presented to the recipients by the Master during formal dinners held during his visit. Brief citations are given below and the full citations can be seen on our website.
The Grand Master's Australian Medal
The RAAF Centenary Fly-past Team

Pictured above, Members of the RAAF Centenary Flypast Team (l-r) Squadron Leader Jason Gamlin, Group Captain Tim Sloane, Squadron Leader Chris Rogers, Flight Sergeant Tim Muehlberg and Flight Lieutenant James Denton.

For their significant contribution, professionalism and dedication, and in true RAAF spirit – through adversity to the stars - the Royal Australian Air Force Centenary Flypast Team, led by Group Captain Tim Sloane, are awarded the Grand Master’s Australian Medal.

Left: Group Captain Tim Sloane receives the award from the Master, Captain Robin Keegan.

The Australian Bi-Centennial Award
Steve Padgett OAM

Awarded as an ongoing commemoration of the Australian Bi-Centenary, to recognise an outstanding individual contribution to Australian aviation.
Steve has been in aviation since 1964, learing to fly at age 16 and achieving his CPL by age 19. Ultimately Steve went on to form his own companies, including Aeromil Pacific and Alliance Airlines. He is also Chairman of the Australian Aviation Hall of Fame, a member of the Australian Air Force Cadets Foundation and life member of the Regional Aviation Association of Australia. In June 2019, Steve Padgett was awarded the Medal of the Order of Australia (OAM) for outstanding achievement and service. For making an outstanding individual contribution to Australian Aviation, Steve Padgett OAM is awarded the Australian Bi-Centennial Award.

Above: Steve Padgett receives his award at the Queensland Working Group Annual Dinner in Brisbane

The Master's Trophy for the Australian Region
Captain Robert Dicker
Captain Rob Dicker joined the Honourable Company of Air Pilots in 2003 whilst employed by Cathay Pacific in Hong Kong. After returning to Australia he joined the Australian Region Executive as Chairman of the Aviation Careers and Education Committee where he enhanced the visibility of the Australian Region’s aviation scholarship program. In 2019 he was elected as Chairman of the Australian Region, a tour of duty coincided with the pandemic, however he maintained an outstanding level of contact with both the Executive Council and the membership, He has been the consummate Chairman, allowing others to lead a topic, asking the right questions, and driving sensible outcomes across a myriad of issues.
In recognition of excellent service to the Honourable Company of Air Pilots Australian Region Rob is awarded the Master’s Australian Trophy 2022.
Above: Captain Rob Dicker receives the Master's Trophy for the Australian Region from the Master

The Captain John Ashton Memorial Award to recognise a professional pilot or organisation for an outstanding contribution to flight standards and aviation safety within Australia was not awarded in 2022.
The Master's Visit
The following collage of pictures give a taste of the Master's Visit to Australia.
You can expect a fuller account of the visit in the Master's own words in the February edition of the Air Pilot magazine.
Copyright © 2022 The Honourable Company of Air Pilots, Australia Incorporated, All rights reserved.

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