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AIR FORCE November 26, 2009
By LAC Aaron Curran
EVER wondered what a year spent
in the air feels like? Try talking to
WGCDR Alf Jonas.
WGCDR Jonas, who is CO of the
Aircraft Research and Development
Unit (ARDU) at RAAF Base Edinburgh,
has completed 8810 flying hours -- the
equivalent of just over one year spent in
the air (8760 hours).
He joined the Air Force in 1978 and
graduated from No. 31 RAAF Academy
Course in 1982 with a Bachelor of
Science degree and a graduate diploma
in military aviation.
Nearly a decade later, WGCDR Jonas
graduated from the United States Naval
Test Pilot School (USNTPS) in 1987
as a Qualified Experimental Test Pilot
and has to this day operated 57 different
His career has been as exciting and
adventurous as Howard Hughes -- both
being test pilots on experimental aircraft
and pushing the limits of aviation.
"I work part-time with Flinders
University's Airborne Research Australia
high atmospheric research arm as the
chief pilot," he said.
"I have flown the unique Grob Egrett,
which is capable of flying up to 50,000
feet. When I did, it took me 70 minutes
to reach that height. Whereas I took only
four minutes to reach 45,000 feet in a
USAF F-16 in test pilot school."
Some of the more memorable events
in his career include being at minus 3.5G
in the S-2 Pitts Special, through to plus
9.0G and up to a speed of 1.52 Mach at
40,000 feet in the F-16 Falcon.
"I have travelled sideways at 10 knots
in a Chinook helicopter," WGCDR Jonas
"I have even been backwards at
approximately minus 10 knots in Bond's
He was awarded the D.J. Knights
Memorial Trophy for 'Excellence in
Flight Test' two years running -- 1988
and 1989 -- during his earlier tour at
One highlight of his career stands out,
however. In the early hours of January 6,
1997, two lone around-the-world yachts-
men were in major distress 1400 nautical
miles south of Perth in hostile and formi-
dable seas. While most South Australians
were still relaxing on their Christmas
holidays, five Orion crews were sum-
moned to work to perform a dangerous
yet exciting task -- a search and rescue
in the Southern Ocean for Thiery Dubois
and Tony Bullimore.
"As the Executive Officer of 10SQN,
I became intimately involved with the
Southern Ocean rescue," he said.
"I helped to organise the crews for
the rescue, but as most of the aircrew
were still on leave, I ended up flying a
composite crew to Perth to assist in the
That rescue earned the ADF inter-
national recognition as a professional
search and rescue force.
A year of flying fast
BAE Systems will conduct air
traffic control operational mainte-
nance services at RAAF Base East
Sale under a new contract.
Minister for Defence Personnel,
Materiel and Science Greg Combet
said the contract rationalises opera-
tional maintenance services for the
air traffic control equipment into a
single and flexible performance-based
"Under the contract, BAE Systems
will conduct operational mainte-
nance for air traffic control equipment
and simulators at two ADF airfields
-- Oakey (Queensland) and East Sale
(Victoria)," Mr Combet said.
"This new contract model and
arrangement will help simplify sup-
port arrangements and deliver effi-
The contract is a five-year per-
formance based contract valued ini-
tially at $6.4 million.
The new contract was signed at
the Ground Telecommunications
Equipment Systems Program Office
at RAAF Base Williamtown on
November 10 and comes into effect in
January next year.
Air traffic contract for Sale
New era between AOSG and
Raytheon begins at Edinburgh
TEST OF TIME: CO ARDU WGCDR Alf Jonas has clocked up 8760 hours flying time, which is the equivalent
to just over one year spent in the air. Over 20 years as a Qualified Experimental Test Pilot, he has flown 57
different aircraft types, including the F/A-18.
Photo: LAC Brenton Kwaterski
ACAUST AVM Mark Skidmore joined Raytheon Australia's Managing
Director Michael Ward for a contract signing ceremony at RAAF Base
Edinburgh on October 26. The 10-year Raytheon contract involves the
provision of aircraft maintenance support to the Aerospace Operational
Support Group, including its fleet of F/A-18, PC-9 and Black Hawk
Photo: LACW Shannon Urie
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