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RAAF 200 Pilots' Course Grad

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RAAF 200 Pilots' Course Grad

Old 16th Dec 2004, 09:14
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RAAF 200 Pilots' Course Grad


I'm one of the guys who graduated on No. 200 Pilots' Course on 10 Dec 2004. Good to finally be here! We got 14 guys and one girl through. Grad week went off without any major hitches and was fantastic for all involved. Would like to send out a big THANK YOU to all those who made the effort to come along to our celebrations, especially the vets. We love talking to you guys.

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Old 16th Dec 2004, 21:57
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Congratulations Pinny, well done !

For the 15 who passed, what was the split between RAAF/RAN, how many for each service ?

What are you off to fly now ?
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Old 16th Dec 2004, 23:44
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Thanks for the congrats! It's a long haul but well worth it..

The graduates were 12 RAAF and 3 RAN. We had 3 go to Fast Jets, 2 to VIP's (I'm one of those), 1 to C130J, 2 to C130H, 1 to 707's, 2 to Caribous, 1 to P3's.

here's an article published in defence media:


The Chief of Air Force Air Marshal Angus Houston, AO AFC has congratulated graduates of the 200th Advanced Pilots course during celebrations at RAAF Base Pearce today.

In addition to receiving their Wings, the fifteen graduates were honoured by a fly-past featuring PC9 and Hawk aircraft following the formal graduation parade, reviewed by Air Marshal Houston.

In a speech congratulating the graduating Air Force and Navy Officers, Air Marshal Houston acknowledged the effort and outstanding achievements made in completing the course.

"Today’s graduation represents the culmination of many long months of very hard work by all of you. You have been challenged intellectually, but also physically and emotionally. By standing here today you have signalled your commitment to your profession and to the values of both Navy and Air Force," Air Marshal Houston said.

The momentous occasion marked the 200th Pilots course since 1948, when post World War One flying arrangements were commenced. Over 56 years the Air Force has graduated 3143 pilots in the 200 courses that have been conducted. This year we also commemorate 90 years since the graduation of the very first military pilots in late 1914.

"Those amazing men who graduated from the first flying training course at Point Cook were viewed as courageous and daring risk-takers. Whatever people might have thought of them, there is no denying that they were incredibly brave," Air Marshal Houston said.

The Chief of Air Force urged the graduates, as future leaders in the Air Force and Navy, to keep up the hard work as they transition into their future careers.

"You might feel like your starting all over again. There’ll be new faces, new demands, a new environment and different and new pressures.

"I urge you to grasp the opportunities presented by the next stage of your careers. Work hard, be prepared for every flight, and learn as much as you can. And remember the learning never ends, especially when it comes to achieving excellence and ensuring flight safety."

Air Marshal Houston also thanked all of those people who assisted the graduates in realising their dream, including members of the Air Force, public service and contractor personnel and training instructors, and in particular the families, partners and friends of the graduates.
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Old 17th Dec 2004, 05:12
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Congatulations to No 200 RAAF Course. Sorry not to have been there to help launch you all into a semblance of the life we graduates of No 1 Course have etched in our memories.

Here is what happened to two of us in 1949.

Towards the end of No 1 course in 1949 we were asked for preferences as to postings off course - whether to fighters, bombers, maritime, transports and other. I had already formed an ambition to be a test pilot and discussed this with others on the course. One of these was Ray Trebilco and we two put down as our first preference, test flying. This was a bit unusual for trainees approaching wings but was accepted by CFS and forwarded together with the others to Air Force Headquarters..

My last flight on course was in a Goony Bird with Flt Lt Roy Royston on 24 August 1949. Total hours to this point were 237 hrs and 45 minutes and the course formally ended on 26 August. Postings came through and to our surprise and incredulity Ray Trebilco and I were posted to the Aircraft Research and Development Unit at Laverton, just west of Melbourne. We were given 14 days leave and were to report to ARDU on 14 September 1949.

Wings parade at Sale was a significant milestone. We marched around the grass parade ground to a small band in front of the reviewing officer, AVM Knox Knight, from RAAF HQ in Melbourne. Finally it was my turn to have those most significant silver wings pinned on my jacket. What a proud moment - a RAAF pilot at last. I still have the original silver wings issued to me, as a treasured memento. They flew with me on almost every flight I made. They were with me when I flew out to Mach 2.45 in an F111 climbing through 50 odd thousand feet over Texas. Mach 1 is the speed of sound in air. It varies with the temperature of the air being about 760 mph at 15 degrees C.

After receiving our wings, we were promoted to the lofty title of Pilot 4 and sewed a cloth star in the centre of our Trainee Aircrew laurel wreath arm patches. These looked ridiculous and we decided to explain to those who asked us what those funny badges were, that we were trainees for the Salvation Army. Our exalted rank gave us the status of Corporals and an entitlement to the use of the Sergeants' Mess. Future promotions in this crazy system were Pilot 3, 2, 1 and then Master Pilot. A Master Pilot was the equivalent of a Warrant Officer. There were two Master pilots in the RAAF at that time.

Now I was reasonably competent to fly but I also realised that I still had a lot to learn. The skills of flying, manoeuvres, take-offs and landings had been carefully nurtured. Now I was being faced with the complexities involved with utilizing aircraft for their purposeful designs whilst also polishing the embryo skills of handling aircraft in flight. I was inspired by the prospect of future challenges.

Ray and I reported to ARDU on 14 September, wondering how we were going to be accepted into the most prestigious flying unit in the Air Force. The CO was the then famous test pilot Jel Cumming. We marched into his office and both threw a snappy salute. This Wing Commander exemplified everything we wanted to be and we were awed to be in his presence. Imagine our feelings when he looked us up and down, paused for some time in thought and then said, "What the hell does Headquarters think it is doing sending me a couple of young inexperienced whippersnappers like you. I don't have any instructors or aircraft hours to spare to train you to a level of usefulness."

Our spirits took a big tumble and we wondered what was to become of us. After another long pause he went on to say " Tell you what I will do. I"ll talk this over with HQ and suggest that you two be sent to various squadrons on six month tours to get experience on a variety of aircraft types. After you have flown fighters, bombers, transports and others, then you can come back to ARDU and I"ll be able to use you. A test pilots' course should then follow. But first I want you to think about what this involves and come back tomorrow and tell me what you think."

I was elated. What a fantastic opportunity to get such experience - an opportunity beyond one's wildest dreams. Ray felt the same and we didn't need time to think it over. Next day it was all arranged and we were immediately posted to No 21 City of Melbourne Citizen Air Force Squadron which occupied the hangar next door, for a Mustang conversion before going on to 77 Squadron in Iwakuni Japan.

I had to explain to Ella, my new bride, that I would be away in Japan for six months and that this was necessary in the process of establishing an important career in the RAAF.

September 21 and I had a check flight with the Commanding Officer of 21 Squadron Sqn Ldr Springbett in Wirraway A20-711. My first Mustang flight under the tutorship of Flt Lt Bernie Peters was on 1 October 1949 in A68-57. Wow. During October, I flew Mustangs on 18 occasions for 18 hours with a flight on 18 October being in a formation of five aircraft over Melbourne, on the occasion of the arrival of a new Victorian State governor from the UK.

We departed 21 Squadron en-route to Iwakuni Japan on 7 December, having 19 hours on Mustangs and also having had some incidental flight experiences in an ARDU S51 Sikorski helicopter, a 30 Sqn Beaufighter with Fred Inger, a Lincoln with Lee Archer, an RAF Dakota and various DC4 Skymasters during my weekend opportunities to visit Ella, who was still in Sydney.

On 13 December Ray and I boarded QANTAS Skymaster VH-EBL on our way to Iwakuni, via overnights at Darwin and Manilla. Manilla was still suffering the after effects of the war and many of the authorities carried machine guns. A sign over the check-in desk at the Manilla hotel stated, "Check your guns in here."

The next day we flew on to Iwakuni, Japan. Sure did learn how to utilize a Mustang in a hurry.

Best wishes to you new pilots and a Merry Xmas.
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Old 17th Dec 2004, 19:27
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Do you have a book?

To 200CSE - Sorry I couldn't make it. Thanks for the invitation.

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Old 17th Dec 2004, 22:37
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very interesting story...would like to hear the rest of it!
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Old 18th Dec 2004, 00:25
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Congrats Pinny. Just wondered how many were "scrubbed" on course to get a final figure of 15??
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Old 18th Dec 2004, 07:22
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Wessex: we lost 1 due self-scrub, 5 scrubbed due "other factors".
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Old 18th Dec 2004, 13:57
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Just wanted to say congrats Pinny. I appreciate what you've been through as several others I know have been through it and several more to follow. Guess you'll be based in the nation's capital. Great place to live.
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Old 18th Dec 2004, 23:37
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LJR pinny

No book yet - just draft memoirs up to end of flying. Now trying to put together the story of my 5 years in the USA managing the acquisition of the F-111s.

Wish I was one of you guys starting out to do it all over again.

Great satisfaction comes from a never ending resolve to keep improving your flying skills, capabilities and peripheral aviation knowledge.

I have tried to define a good pilot from a test pilot's perspective in the ongoing thread on Farnborough. May be worth a look.

Smooth landings.
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Old 19th Dec 2004, 00:20
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Bzulu: thank you. As CAF said..a long journey that tests you mentally, physically and emotionally. But I would do it all again (even not knowing the outcome) because at the end of it you are hard pressed remembering all the hard times, but the good times easily come to the fore of your mind....good mates, great flying. Canberra it is!

Milt: I definitely think you should write a book. Just out of interest, a book is being written as we speak (type?) by a famous author (I will endeavour to find out his name - all I can remember is that the CO of 2FTS said he is a big deal) called SEEKING THE HEIGHTS (which is the current 2FTS motto). The book focusses on training pilots in the RAAF and will cover the entire history of this (even preceding 1949 - back to Empire and such). Should be an interesting read. 200 Course will be in there too!
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Old 25th Dec 2004, 12:33
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Good work Pinny

Was in Pearce a few weeks ago. Great to see course houses and all the fun stuff that goes along with pilots course is still happening!

Must admit I look back on Pilots course as the best time I have had in the RAAF so far, not to say it is all down hill from here.

All my pilots course mates that went to 34 have had an awesome time there. Plenty of travel, nice jets, even nicer hosties. Have fun dude!!
Old 20th Jan 2005, 02:29
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Congrats Pinny,

I can't believe we are up to 200 cse already. I am a grad of 171 cse and have spent time in the RAAF on C130 E/H, currently Seahawk in the Navy.......I am due to get out and start with an airline soon, but have absolutely enjoyed my time and the flying in the services.

Its all ahead of you, enjoy.

Safe flying and best of luck!
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Old 1st Feb 2005, 06:51
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Well done, i've got a mate who was meant to be on that course, but got messed around with on OTS.

Another friend who was a QFI and spent time in 36, 37 and 285 was there, he said it was wierd because he was 3rd generation. People who he had trained to be a QFI were training the grads.

Well done again, one day i might have a grad night at Pearce.
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