Introducing Squadron Leader (ret) Ian Woods. Ian gained substantial experience on Caribous during his time in the Air Force. Caribous were of the famed Wallaby Airlines operated by the Air Force during the Vietnam war and revered elsewhere as one of the best Short Take Off and Landing aircraft in history.
Ian learnt not only a lot about Caribous during his time but they were the catalyst for the gaining of a bit of wisdom.
From Ian: “I flew over seven hundred hours in the first twelve months. I also learned quite a lot about what Navigators did. A Caribou Squadron included maintenance and administrative personnel. Good insight into what it takes to keep pilots in the air and an understanding that helped keep my feet on the ground, even when my head was elsewhere.”
“I found the need to figure out how to collaborate with people and manage circumstances whilst staying within service limits turned out to be the most valuable lesson the Air Force taught me. In the beginning it was a baptism of fire, but in the end, I had learnt enough to be able to live the courage of my convictions. I often thought to myself – just keep living the attitudes and values of your life in Rockhampton and the Air Force instilled and you will get there.”
“I found flying in Papua New Guinea really challenging. Being a co-pilot to pilots with wartime service put me on a steep learning curve. Good for flying experience.” I also was posted to Air Movement Training Development Unit where I experienced the bigger picture of flying transport aircraft.” End of quote.
Ian left the full time Air Force in 1977 to join TAA in Melbourne as a Fokker co-pilot.”
Ian explored continuing to fly Caribous as a Reserve Pilot. Not easy to do. It was a new concept for this era. Meanwhile Ian left TAA to join QANTAS in Sydney.
Quite unexpectedly Qantas arranged secondments to Singapore Airlines and the opportunity to relocate to Singapore for 3 years was accepted.
Ian then blinked and all of a sudden it was his 65th birthday. He got an email from Civil Aviation Safety Authority asking if he was interested in joining them. He started working for CASA two months later.
These days Ian is helping develop Policy and Rules for operating large aeroplanes. Quote” Something I would not have been qualified to do if I had not been a Project Officer at Air Movement Training Development Unit and a Caribou Examiner.
“Funny how life turns out. PER ARDUA AD ASTRA.”