• AHIA president Ray Cronin addresses the helicopter industry at Avalon in 2019. (Steve Hitchen)
    AHIA president Ray Cronin addresses the helicopter industry at Avalon in 2019. (Steve Hitchen)

Four aviation people were recognised with Order of Australia Medals (OAM) in the Australia Day Honours list released last Friday.

Honourees include helicopter instructor and operator Ray Cronin, gliding advocate and administrator Jean Drew, former CASA PMO Ian Hosegood and the late David Robson, CEO of The Aviation Centre. 

Ray Cronin OAM
Perhaps one of the most recognisable people in the helicopter industry, Ray Cronin is the Managing Director and Founder of Kestrel Aviation out of Mangalore, Vic, and president of the Australian Helicopter Industry Association (AHIA). Over a career spanning nearly 50 years, Cronin has established himself as one of the most pre-eminent helicopter instructors and aerial firefighting experts in Australia. Cronin also introduced the first helicopter simulator to Australia and as the helicopter specialist on the first CASA flight training panel, instigated the helicopter CFIs conferences. He was also a founding member of the Aviation Safety Foundation of Australia and spend six years as a Flight Service Officer with CASA. Cronin is the helicopter specialist on CASA's Aviation Safety Advisory Panel (ASAP) and winner of the 2018 Col Pay Award for a Lifetime of Service to General Aviation.

Vivienne Drew OAM
Vivienne Drew has put her heart and soul into gliding at local, state and national level for 35 years. Based at Benalla, Vic, Drew has been a board member of the Gliding Federation of Australia (GFA) since 2021, a vice president in 2020 and served three years as chair of the GFA's Governance and Integrity Commission. Drew had a stellar start to her gliding career, winning the 1989 Leigh Simpson Trophy for the most outstanding trainee. Within three years she was the Chair of the Gliding Coordinating Committee for the first Australian International Airshow at Avalon and served two terms as vice president of the Gliding Club of Victoria. Drew went onto to hold most offices within the GCV including a stint as president 1999-2001. She has also contributed through the Victorian Soaring Association as president, vice president and Government Liaison Officer between 1993 and 2022. Drew was awarded the Bill Iggulden Award in 2022 for services to gliding as a volunteer.

Ian Hosegood OAM
Ian Hosegood has contributed to aviation medicine in both the military and civil worlds, serving also as CASA Principle Medical Officer (PMO) from 2006-09. Currently Chief Health Officer for Qantas, Hosegood has had a long career that saw him serving with the RFDS in Queensland, Emirates Airlines and the Australian Defence Force, all in senior medical roles. Hosegood is a foundation fellow of the Australasian College of Aviation Medicine, an Adjunct Associate Professor at the University of Queensland and served a term as president of the International Airline Medical Association in 2020. He is also a member of the UN Special Commission Conducting Monitoring and Verification of Chemical and Biological Weapons Program in Iraq.

The Late David Robson OAM
Best known as the CEO of The Aviation Centre (ATC), which produces theory and instructional manuals, Dave Robson also produced works for the Australian Defence Force and Airservices Australia. He also edited the Civil Aviation Authority's Aviation Safety Digest in the mid 1980s. He began his aviation journey with the RAAF in 1965, collecting several service medals along the way including the Australian Active Service Medal 1945-75 with clasps for Malaysia, Vietnam and Thailand. As a member of 77 SQN, Robson flew Mirages and was a part of the RAAF Deltas aerobatic display team. After his RAAF service, Robson became an instructor with the Australia Aviation College in SA (now Flight Training Adelaide), after which he turned his hand to writing. Among the many manuals he authored were Aerobatics: Principles and Practice, 2008 and Transition to Twins: Your First Multi-engine Rating, 2000. Robson also wrote historical books such as Of Migs and Men in 2007, relating the story of the RAAF in the Korean War, and A Brief History of the Cessna O-2A FAC Aircraft in Vietnam in 2000. But it was is as an aerobatics expert and instructional writer through ATC that the civilian aviation community will remember Dave Robson the most, as his books helped launch the aviation careers of many thousands of pilots.

Australian Flying congratulates all those recognised for the service to aviation in the 2024 Australia Day Honours List.

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