Grew up on a dairy farm in South East Queensland; matriculated from Gympie State High School in 1968, just shy of 17th birthday. Vocational interests were engineering and aviation with aspirations to be an astronaut.
Applied for a Qantas cadetship but unsuccessful, could not afford University so applied for direct entrant aircrew in the Air Force. Initially too young so spent 18 months working on the farm at Miva. Joined the RAAF in April 1970 on No 77 Pilots Course and graduated in July 1971.
Thought progression to Astronaut was through fast jet and test pilot qualifications but was initially posted to fly DC-3 Dakota aircraft (Gooney Bird) at the Aircraft Research and Development Unit (ARDU), Laverton, Vic. Disappointed but an opportunity to mature and enjoy some great experiences; one epic mission to central Java, Indonesia in Dec 72 just after confrontation. Continued to apply for fighter training every two weeks.
Eventually, posted to Williamtown (Fighter Town – Newcastle) for Mirage 3 fighter training. Operated the Mirage 3 with 75 Squadron in Malaysia/Singapore and 77 Squadron at Williamtown. Continued to apply for test pilot training.
Was posted to the Empire Test Pilot School (ETPS) at Boscombe Down, Wiltshire, England in December 1977; graduated as an experimental test pilot in December 1978. Prince Charles was guest of honour at the graduation.
Spent the next four years conducting certification/qualification flight tests on Mirage 3, F-111, Macchi, Nomad and CT-4 aircraft at ARDU. Staff job in the Tactical Fighter Project Office in support of the F/A-18-Hornet acquisition was followed by a posting to the USA to qualify on the Hornet and certify unique capabilities incorporated in RAAF aircraft.
Back in Australia in 1985, represented McDonnel Douglas and flew the first flights of most RAAF Hornets as they rolled off the assembly line at Avalon, VIC. Joined Aerospace Technologies of Australia (ASTA) to continue F/A-18 production flying. At the time I was also test flying the Nomad Searchmaster and conducting post-maintenance test flights of the Mirage 3.
Eventually, posted back to ARDU supervising fast jet and rotary wing test flying and then to Williamtown as the Operations Manager for the fighter force. Retired from the RAAF in Oct 95 and joined Qantas flying Boeing 747-400 and Airbus A330 aircraft. Continued to conduct civilian certification tests on aircraft such as Cessna Caravan, B-1900, King Air, CASA 212, Diamond 42, Mallard, Cessna Citation and Lear Jet. Operated the Lear Jet in military support and fire scan roles for a short while.
Helped revitalise the Flight Test Society of Australia (FTSA - www.ftsa.org.au) as Secretary. Currently, Treasurer of the Fighter Squadrons Branch of the Air Force Association (AFA), Business Manager AFANSW and Manager Wings magazine.
Didn’t make astronaut but life has been eventful and rewarding.