Hi to SFC Club Members and Alumni,
A little over three weeks ago I got a call from a close mate, Cameron Livingstone, asking whether I might be interested in taking a role at SFC which he had started and already made big inroads with. He had been called back to Qantas for a conversion course on the A330 far earlier than any of us had predicted. I have known Cam for over 35 years from our early days in Qantas, and we followed similar pathways through Qantas except that in December 2020 I took an offered VR package as there appeared no reasonable prospect of flying on the long haul fleet (or so we thought then) for at least a couple of years. So I left Qantas as a B747 Captain with pretty good seniority, with my last revenue service being ex Tokyo on Paddy’s Day last year. I was however fortunate enough to have the privilege of taking VH-OEE our second last B747 to its final resting place at the Mojave Spaceport via LAX back in June which was a bitter sweet experience as you’d expect.
In my last few years at Qantas I was heavily involved in PAN our pilot peer support network which is the world benchmark for such organisations being its National and NSW coordinator for some years. I am hoping to establish something similar in GA over time. During my time in Qantas I flew most long haul types and every variant of the 747 Qantas flew in command. I started as a second Officer on the 747 moving to First Officer there before finally achieving command on the B767 which was a really fun pilots aircraft to fly. I spent a few years there being a Training Captain there before returning to the 747 Classic. These were great years too and it was a privilege to fly with Flight Engineers again to some great places all over. The most fun Classics were the SP’s which while with operational challenges, it was a sportscar with 4 big Rollers to kick you along.
As the Classic faded to grey I moved to the dark side and moved to the Airbus A330 which I reluctantly at first embraced, but learnt to enjoy especially as it largely took over the mid-range 767 routes we all used to enjoy. After a few years there it was back to my true love in Boeings and the queen where I remained until the end after 35 very fun, fulfilling years which beat having a “real” job!
Retirement did not agree with me especially at the “tender” age of 59, so the opportunity to come to SFC as chief Ground Instructor has been an unexpected gift as it were. Before Qantas I was working in Victoria out of Moorabbin as a Grade 1 Instructor and doing charter work in a range of twins from Seminoles, Partenavias and Aztecs to Aero Commander and Navajo. I really enjoyed instructing, especially the CPL and Instructor training so this opportunity is something I will relish. I worked at RVAC which like SFC is a Club with passionate members and a professional approach to training which resulted in the years preceding me and to my knowledge for some time after put more pilots into airlines than any other one organisation.
I hope my 20,000 hours+ experience in Qantas and more than 2,500 hours before then can value add to what we do at SFC as we seek to build the fully in- house integrated college into one that has graduates highly sought after in industry and airlines. There is plenty to bring whether they be lessons and disciplines from the excellent Qantas training and operation to the line experiences good and bad.
I am so far most impressed with the people and culture here at SFC and proud to work here. Please say hi if you see me around or pop into Drover Rd campus to have a look around and have a chat.