Bert Milne has had a very adventurous life from growing up in Manangatang where he lived and worked on the family wheat/sheep property to flying Caribou Tactical Transport in Vietnam, where he had a major incident, to flying large jets with Qantas.

He was introduced to love of flying through his father who prior to taking up farming served in the Middle East in W.W.2 as an Aircraft Engineer. His Engineers licence number was 773. His Pilots licence issued in October 1929 was Number 395.

In summary after Caribous in Vietnam, Bert

·       flew Hercules C130A,

·       Was Aide- de- Camp to 2 Chiefs of the Air Force

·       Flying Instructor Air Force pilot training school and Royal Malaysian Air Force.

·       Was involved with Flight Safety at Directorate of Air Force Safety,

·       Joined Qantas as a Pilot instructor Flight Simulator and then

·       flew B-747 and B767 Aircraft.

Bert says “A wonderful 20 years of my life filled with outstanding memories and events which as a kid on the farm in Manangatang I could not have ever imagined would actually happen. Guess that is what life is though: “its just the way your mum puts your hat on”.


Highlights of flying career:


*Being selected for pilot training and Surviving pilot training,

*Having those Wings pinned on in front of my family,

*Graduation day/night,

*Throughout  my flying career the Exceptional opportunities to be trained and educated in a wide variety of skills and Leadership,

*Lifelong friends made along the way. A bonding experience unique to the military way of life, both socially and professionally,

*The thrill of my first jet flight…... in  the Vampire,

*First Op. Conversion Flying the "Queen of the skies", the C7A Caribou…….S.T.O.L. ops.

*Operations in P.N.G.-- particularly the challenge of high altitude short/steep slope runway ops,

*Operations in Vietnam: the scale and intensity of wartime ops,

*Surviving being mortared 29 March 70 during delivery of a cargo of fuel drums at That Son  (aircraft destroyed / extremely lucky to have  no loss of crew)

*Next big event was getting out of there and coming home to my fiancé …..

*Flying C130-A Hercules , PNG OPS, Air delivery ops  and flood relief operations.

*Experience as A.D.C. working for 2 Chiefs of the Air Staff (Air Marshals Reid and Rowling)……both great men to work for and observe in action,

*Following Flying Instructor training the challenge  of Student Pilot training  on the Macchi,

As a new Q.F.I.,successfully completing an engine out forced landing into Gin Gin airfield following engine failure during a spinning training exercise,

*To Malaysia instructing on the Bulldog and CESSNA 402B, First exposure to foreign Air Force training ops and thinking……v good students ,

*posted back to becoming the B Flt Commander at 2 FTS … first real exposure into" leadership and control" as a new Sqn Ldr,

*After considerable study and effort gained my A1 Flying instructors Rating …….the pinnacle of my instructing career.*

*Posted as C.O.  No 27 (City of Townsville Squadron), tasked with setting up and integration of 27 Sqn into RAAF Base Townsville, Awarded The Queens Commendation for Valuable Service in the Air in the Queens Honours list .

*Became on posting the Chief Flying Instructor at Central Flying School RAAF Base East Sale. Quite simply the best flying job in the RAAF. Able to actually drive change for the better. Also able to get to fly and examine on any aircraft within the RAAF Inventory. Flew with extremely talented and dedicated pilots and was intimately involved with the Roulettes. A wonderful CO of Wing Cdr Terry Body.

*The end of my flying career in the RAAF with posting to RAAF Staff College and promotion to Wg Cdr.

We were so lucky to have served in what I believe was a period in RAAF history that preserved  the tenets of professional operations, whilst retaining the trust of the senior ranks to achieve the task at hand.  I am not totally convinced that this freedom still exists today. The big book of "Can't do's”…... seems to me vastly larger and more imposing than that which was entrusted to Good Airmanship and Officer Qualities of the past, but who knows………….