From a young age Charles Ford knew that he wanted to become a Pilot. This Queenslander’s passion for aviation started with a visit to the Avalon Airshow in Victoria and he attributes his decision to become an Army pilot to an introductory helicopter flight at the Gold Coast in Year 12.
“What tipped it over the edge for me, wanting to become an Army Pilot on rotary wing as opposed to fixed wing aircraft with the Air Force, was feeling the helicopter hover and being able to stop on the spot,” Charles said.
Charles currently works at A Squadron, 5th Aviation Regiment in Townsville flying the MRH-90, and loves his job. “I love being able to fly such an advanced helicopter as the MRH-90, in particular low level terrain flights on night vision goggles, where I can conduct a tactical approach to allow the troops to get out rapidly and do their job.”
But he says his career highlight so far was the opportunity to fly in the final Black Hawk formation flight in Townsville prior to the aircrafts retirement from service.
“It was a sort of commemorative parade prior to the Black Hawks moving from Townsville. I was asked to take part and piloted the fifth aircraft of the formation,” Charles said.
The Australian Army operates a fleet of rotary wing aircraft flown by Officers of the Army Aviation Corps. Their duties can take them anywhere across Australia and overseas, flying helicopters to transport soldiers and combat equipment, conduct close air support for land forces, participating in vital search and rescue missions, medical evacuations or working as part of a disaster relief team.
The Army trains Officers in the Aviation Corps to command and lead soldiers and make split-second decisions when it counts. To become an Army pilot you’ll undergo rigorous flight training achieving more flying hours and experience than many civilian programs. You’ll complete just over two years of aviation training in order to have the opportunity to fly an impressive fleet of helicopters.
But before you can start flight training you’ll need to learn the skills to command at the Royal Military College. Then you’ll move on to the Basic Flying Training Course and advanced helicopter flight training before being awarded your wings.
As a Pilot, Charles is one part of a proud and prestigious team that fly, maintain and support Army’s aviation capabilities. If you’re interested in joining the team that lifts Army visit www.defencejobs.gov.au to learn more about the Aviation jobs on offer, or call 13 19 01.