MEET THE BOARD & IME

 

PETER CROOK

President

Peter commenced aeroplane flying training in 1963 and gained a Commercial Pilot Licence Aeroplanes prior to being drafted into National Service in 1967. After completing Officer training he was selected to train as an Australian Army helicopter pilot prior to serving in Vietnam, with 161 Recce Flight in 1968-69.

On completion of his National Service in 1969, Peter joined Helitrans PNG where he became the Chief Pilot and a part owner. Over the next 25 years he was employed by a number of aviation companies involved in aeroplane (turbo prop and jet) and helicopter charter operations in Chief Pilot or General Manager roles.

In 1994 he accepted a position as Vice President Marketing and Sales for the Bell Helicopter product range in the Australian region. This role had both civil and military responsibilities in the Maintenance Test pilot area. Peter continued in this role until 2012 when he established his own helicopter consulting and sales company, PKC Aviation.

Peter has flown some 14,000 flight hours in piston/turbine/jet aeroplanes and piston/turbine/tandem rotor helicopters with in excess of 50 type ratings.. He holds aeroplane Commercial Pilot and helicopter Airline Transport Pilot licences with Instrument Ratings in both Australia and USA. He is also an Aircraft Maintenance Engineer with turbine engine credits.

Peter holds memberships in these organisations:

  • President, Australian Helicopter Industry Association
  • Member, Bell Helicopter Customer Advisory Council
  • Member, New Zealand Aviation Industry Association
  • Life Member, Vietnam Helicopter Pilots Association

RAY CRONIN

Vice President

Ray commenced his aviation career with the Department of Civil Aviation as a “Flight Service Officer” achieving a Diploma in Air Traffic Services. Having qualified as a Commercial Aeroplane Pilot he flew both single engine and multi engine aeroplanes on charter in Northern Queensland. He completed his Commercial Helicopter Pilot Licence in 1980 and flew single engine helicopter on charter operations in eastern Australia. In the period 1983-84, Ray gained a Helicopter Instructor rating and a Chief Flying Instructor approval.

In 1985 Ray established "Kestrel Aviation Pty Ltd" which specialised in helicopter pilot training. This business expanded with the selling aviation services including flying training to overseas customers Japan, South Korea, India, Europe, Ireland, Oman, Qatar and Sri Lanka. Systems were developed for the purchase and operation of aeroplanes and helicopters, management of flight crew, engineers and administration, financial control and budgeting. As a result, a number of helicopters and aeroplanes were imported and certified from overseas. He experience as an Aviation Consultant to the resource industry.

Ray has been innovative in a number of areas:

  • Management Lease of Mangalore Airport, a first for the private sector
  • Introduction of Helicopter Flight Training device
  • Instructor/Check and Training Pilot refresher courses
  • Floating Helipad Melbourne CBD


Ray has first-hand involvement in pilot training syllabus development to all licence and rating levels. He has been an Adviser to the Australian Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA) on safety and training issues. Ray has over 10,000 hours aeronautical experience in the industry and has held the titles of Chief Pilot and Chief Flying Instructor for over 30 years.

Service to Industry:

  • Foundation member of Aviation Safety Foundation of Australia (ASFA)
  • Helicopter representative for “Flight Training Panel” (Appointed by CASA-CEO)
  • Industry consultant for development of the new ‘Helicopter flight training syllabus’
  • Industry consultant for helicopter flight test standards CASA
  • Industry representative for the development of the ‘Flight Testing Office’ CASA.
  • Developed the ‘Helicopter flight instructor’s manual’ in conjunction with CASA.
  • Initiated, produced and presented two Chief Flying instructors conferences funded by CASA.
  • Flight Safety Foundation - Helicopter Advisory Group Member
  • AHIA - Vice President since 2015

BRIDGETTE HASTING (nee Kies)

Secretary/Treasurer

Bridgette grew up on a family farm and was a part of the associated vineyard and general farm duties. Her family had an interest in aviation and Bridgette commenced her helicopter flying career on Queensland's Sunshine Coast in January 1999, after surprising her school teachers with her career choice.

By the end of 1999, Bridgette had completed a Commercial Helicopter Pilot's Licence as Australia's Youngest Female Commercial Helicopter Pilot at 18 years of age. Her early career involved scenic flight trips to gain flight hours. Bridgette has flown her entire career in Aerial Work operations in single engine piston and turbine helicopters completing powerline patrols, sling work, news/media gathering and remote surveys. These tasks have been completed in the Northern Territory (Kakadu, Katherine, Borroloola, Nhulunbuy), Victoria and South Australia.

Bridgette has the distinction of being the first female Air Attack pilot for the Victorian Department of Sustainability and Energy (supporting the Erickson S64 Sky Crane helicopters) and the South Australian Country Fire Service.

Currently, Bridgette is the Manager of Barossa Helicopters and a current helicopter pilot. She is active in her local community associations and has served a four year term on the Local Council. Her other interest is in small business management and she has completed a number of courses in management and tourism. For relaxation, Bridgette trains horses and competes in barrel racing competitions.


PETER HOWE

Board Member

Peter commenced aeroplane and helicopter flying training in 1973 while serving in the Australian Regular Army. After completing the training as a helicopter pilot he served for a further six years resigning from the Army and entering the commercial aviation area. Over the next ten years he operated single and multi-engine aeroplanes, jets and helicopters in charter, emergency medical service, search and rescue and offshore operations (oil and gas) in Australia. He completed a Helicopter Instructor course in 1987.

In the period 1989-1991, Peter established an aviation consultancy company primarily for the oil and gas industry. He completed assignments in the Philippines, North Africa, China, UK, India, Myanmar, France, UAE and Australia. This period also involved flying operations in Oman and the UAE.

In 1992, Peter joined Lloyd Helicopters in Adelaide and worked with the company until his retirement in 2015. During this period he held the positions of Head of Flying Operations, Training and Standards Supervisor, Check and Training Captain and Base Manager at various times. As a Check and Training Captain, Peter completed operations in charter, emergency medical service, search and rescue and offshore operations (oil and gas) in Australia, Thailand and Timor Leste. With the introduction of high fidelity helicopter simulators, Peter participated in the training being conducted in USA, UAE and Germany on a number of multi engine helicopter types.

Peter has flown some 12,000 flight hours in piston/turbine/jet aeroplanes and piston/turbine single and multi-engine helicopters. He holds Aeroplane Commercial Pilot and Helicopter Airline Transport Pilot licences with Instrument Ratings in both Australia and USA. He holds a Flight Examiners rating.

Accomplishments:

  • Master of Business Administration, completed 1989
  • Diploma of Arts (Military Studies), Royal Military College of Australia
  • Quality Management Training at University and TAFE
  • Certificate IV Train the Trainer

MYLES TOMPKINS

Industry Matter Expert

Myles completed a Commercial Aeroplane Pilot Licence in 1976 followed by a Commercial Helicopter Pilot Licence in 1982. Between 1982 and 1986 he flew as a pilot with HeliMuster before purchasing Airwork Helicopters in 1991.

Myles is also the Chief Pilot of Airwork Helicopters which specialises in a wide range of helicopter operations including mustering, spraying, powerline inspections and firefighting operations using a variety of helicopter types.

Myles has held an ATO approval for many years and continues to exercise the privileges of this qualification in assisting other organisations maintain their standards.
His main concern for the industry is the shortage of suitable pilots having the relevant background experience, the necessary CASA checking/testing qualifications and most importantly, the desire to make a career in the flying training industry either as mentors, instructors or examiners.


JOHN ARMSTRONG

Industry Matter Expert - Mustering

John commenced helicopter flying in 1974 as a private mustering pilot in the Northern Territory before completing the Commercial Helicopter Pilot Licence in 1980. He worked at Victoria River Downs (VRD) as a pilot and later as the Operations Manager for twelve years. During this time he held CASA approvals/delegations as a Check and Training pilot for Low Level/Mustering/Sling operations and held endorsement approval for Bell 47 helicopters.

Following his time at VRD, John established a helicopter company specialising in mustering/survey/agriculture operations utilising R22/R44/B206 helicopters. He is also the Chief Pilot of the company.

John brings strong business experience to the AHIA having previously owned and operated two tourism venturers in the Northern Territory in a partnership. He has experience in agri- politics over many years having represented the cattle industry at state level.

His greatest concern for the Low Level Airwork helicopter community centres firstly, on ability of the industry to understand the recent legislative changes and secondly, with the expansion of the industry, the potential lack of exposure of current pilots to the tips and techniques (mentoring) that enhance safety but cannot necessarily be recorded in technical notes or legislative documents.