Bob has had an interesting and varied aviation background of over 50 years. Completing an apprenticeship in the RAAF as an Aircraft Maintenance Engineer, he served 20 years in that capacity throughout Australia and SE Asia. Bob earned his PPL in Penang (Malaysia) in 1973 mainly flying Cessna 150s, Aerobats and 172s. Had some interesting experiences mingling with heavy traffic at Paya Leba (Singapore International Airport) flying Cessnas and Beagle Pups with the Singapore Flying Club.
In the RAAF he flew in a variety of aircraft (sometimes on the controls) including Winjeels, Neptunes, Caribous, Hercules, Iroquois, Mirages, Macchis, Canberras, DC3s and F111s – all provided some thrilling experiences. Other aircraft that he worked on but didn’t get to fly in were the Vampire and Sabre fighters. Bob was deeply involved in the test and trials on the introduction to service of the CT4 Airtrainers. He served as a Flight Fitter on DC3s touring much of Australia in that grand old bird. On Mirage Fighter Squadrons for 7 years Bob managed to secure quite a few flights in a dual (each operational Squadron had just one the rest were single seat aircraft). Snap rolls at 500knots, radar dodging low level inverted flight, bombing runs along with Mach 2.2 flights endeared that lady to him and provided many thrilling experiences burnt into his recall.
One very memorable event was a “Red Out” in a Macchi when flying with an Empire Test Graduate Pilot in sustained negative “G” flight. High positive “G” was quite common and “Black Out” in high performance aircraft avoided through wearing “G” Suits. Another was suffering an EFAT at 400ft in a CT4 whilst completing hot weather trails. (Thankfully managed a restart at 80ft AGL with a rather short paddock lined up for a dead-stick landing). The thrill of having 60,000 pounds of thrust under your throttle hand in an F111 was a real buzz and the feel of controls in that heavy, manoeuvrable, swing wing fighter bomber….. unforgettable.
Although he has been gliding in Richmond (NSW), Singapore, Woomera, Laverton and Wahring one unfulfilled ambition is to solo in this category. He derives great pleasure flying his Cessna 177 Cardinal and will launch in “Dizzy” for a quick local flight whenever the opportunity arises.
Joining others formation flying at every opportunity hones his skill as pilot and Bob actively encourages others to gain this fulfilling endorsement. With tail dragger and NVFR endorsements under his belt his next step is to upgrade “Dizzy” to IFR and make some other aviation dreams a reality, IFR, aerobatics and an endorsement on Tiger Moths.
His passion for flying and introducing others to this wonderful activity saw him become an RA Aus Instructor in 2012. He revels in sharing that joy on Trial Introductory Flights (TIFs) and derives great pleasure in steering his students through to their Pilot Certificate.