2022 Wings Awards: the Winners are Announced
Col Pay Award for a lifetime of service to general aviation
A member of HARS Historic Flight Association, a registered aircraft maintenance engineer (airframe and engine), a responsible person for a number of companies with CASA, responsible person and owner of a registered training organization (Aerospace Training Services) and life member of ‘ n number of aviation related businesses, Chris Sievers has been a stalwart in GA for over 40 years.
Sievers and a business colleague started Air Affairs in the early 90s, providing advisory and training services to the RAN at Nowra, which is still thriving to this day. Its advanced manufacturing centre, which focuses on producing products for all three arms of the ADF, is the most successful in the country. The associated special mission work and manufacturing performed by Air Affairs requires a person with clear vision, drive and leadership.
Over the past 30 years Chris has employed over 30 apprentices and taken them through all their studies to become fully licensed in their field giving them the opportunity to really make something of themselves and give them all pride. His “don’t give up” attitude has seen a company grow from five staff and one aircraft to 175 staff, operating a fleet of 25 aircraft. Air Affairs has many local, state and international clients.
Aero Club of the Year
Central Coast Aero Club
Fly-ins, quiz shows, monthly competitions and successful lobbying have been a big part of the success of the Central Coast Aero Club. The club has been driven to modernize, with a focus on organizing Paul Bennet Airshows, installing concrete blocks around flood-proof mooring areas, replacing outdated fuel delivery systems and introducing a new CASA-approved simulator.
The club has risen from a position of weakness five years ago to a position of strength and credibility. By exposing thousands of members of the general public to general aviation through air shows, generating goodwill through free charity flights for disabled children and reclaiming the full length of the runway after a tree removal campaign, the CCAC has firmly established itself on the WAC placed as a solid club.
The club is equipped to train pilots from RPL to CPL and offers and instructor rating and theory courses. The CCAC weathered the storm of the pandemic with a positive financial outlook and continues to be a training provider for future pilots. The club is actively involved with local schools as part of their STEM program, inviting students from local schools to tour the facilities and promote aviation as a future career.
Flight Instructor of the Year
Pete Townsend is a familiar figure at Bankstown Airport. Owner and founder of the Australian Aerobatic Academy, his focus is on skills training and development. The AAA is a CASA Part 141 flight training organization specializing in high quality primary flight training.
The academy’s mission is to provide our customers with the best possible flight training and customer service in a fun, friendly and supportive environment. AAA’s team of highly skilled instructors and pilots are experienced and dedicated professionals who have qualified themselves above the minimum required standards to provide you with a higher level of skill.
As an instructor, Peter focuses on emergency manoeuvres, upset recovery training and in depth theory classes which are part of his commitment to flight safety. The AAA places focus on helping a pilot learn and appreciate the limitations and understanding of the aircraft they are flying.
On hearing he had won, Townsend said: “I am very surprised, honored and humbled to receive the 2022 CASA Wings Awards Instructor of the Year Award. I am extremely grateful to those who thought enough of me to nominate!
“I just do my best to make all my students the safest, most knowledgeable and most skilled pilots they can be.”
Flight Training Organization of the Year
UPRT Australia was established to provide the highest level of professional and unique flight training in Australia to thoroughly train private and professional pilots to identify, counteract and overcome the physiological and aerodynamic effects of disturbed flight.
There is no CASA syllabus for UPRT. Currently, students are only expected to recognize and recover from engineered stall scenarios. The UPRT syllabus is groundbreaking in Australia as it focuses not only on aerobatic recovery, but a fundamental understanding of the most crucial aspect: the human factors.
Pilot training in dealing with aircraft upset will have little to no effect on a pilot’s ability to recover from a real-world situation if they cannot even recover mentally enough to fly the aircraft. This is known as the startle and surprise response and has contributed to many plane crashes. UPRT Australia has identified the human factors element as the most critical part of the training and has addressed this as the primary focus of their UPRT courses.
As part of UPRT Australia’s training syllabus, they always present the MOS and CASA training syllabus first, then identify how it complements the training with areas of capability enhancement beyond just the required standard.
Young Achiever of the Year
Lauren Jones is an outstanding student from Griffith Aviation. She is an executive team member and leader in their student organizations. Her academic achievements are among the best in their program. She has an extremely high reputation as a lecturer in aviation courses such as aerodynamics, airway design and operation, human factors, flight procedures, etc. She received Sir Samuel Griffith Connect Scholarship, Griffith University Award for Academic Excellence, NASA and Houston Association for Space and Science Education Scholarship, School academic medal, and Academic Excellence Awards.
Lauren is part of both Griffith University Aviation Clubs – Griffith University Aviation Association (GUAvA) and Griffith University Soaring Society (GUSS). She was a member of the GUAvA subcommittee, demonstrating her leadership and teamwork skills.
She attends events hosted by Aviation Aerospace Australia and Women in Aviation International Australian Chapter. By volunteering her time as an exhibitor at the Girls in Aviation day, she was able to share her love of aviation with others still considering career options. She has also signed up as an exhibitor at the Aviation High Aerospace Experience Day and The Brisbane Airshow.
She also made numerous Australian Air Force cadet squadron visits, including to places as far away as Karrabin. She enjoys talking about aviation, especially with her peers as well as any member of the public who is considering an aviation career
She currently holds the roles of both portfolio director of social and community engagement, as well as flight leader. On a regular basis, she manages the logistical challenges of a versatile high-performing team.
“I am humbled to have been named the CASA Wings Awards Young Achiever of the Year; I was honored just to be nominated,” she said.
“I have had a passion for everything aviation and space since childhood and feel privileged to have met many inspiring aviation personnel.
“I hope that winning this award provides an inspiration to others considering a career in aviation.”
Once again CASA, the Australian Section of the Royal Aeronautical Society and Australian Flying congratulate these very worthy winners and thank them for their significant contributions to general aviation.