Home' Air Force News : February 3rd 2011 Contents 18
February 3, 2011
WOFF John Boshammer
ticked over his 15,000th
flying hour as a flight
engineer on the C-130H
Hercules last October, much to his
Since 1979, the man known as
'Boshy' has served exclusively on
the C-130H, and as the type entered
its 33rd year of Australian service,
he recalled his career flying an air-
WOFF Boshammer started work
as an airframe fitter with 486SQN,
beginning at a rainy RAAF Base
Richmond on May 5, 1974.
The unit provided all mainte-
nance for Richmond's C-130A and
C-130E Hercules, which brought
WOFF Boshammer in close contact
with the type's flight engineers.
"I associated with the flight
engineers on their trips, and I'd got
to like flying -- I hadn't ever flown
until I joined the RAAF," WOFF
In 1978, the first of 12 C-130H
Hercules replaced the first genera-
tion C-130As at 36SQN, bringing
a quantum leap in technology of
Rank and experience require-
ments for flight engineer applicants
were lowered, which allowed a
then-LAC Boshammer to join the
first locally trained C-130H course
in June 1979.
More than three decades later,
he's still flying them.
The flight engineer plays a
unique role in any aircrew, super-
vising the health of aircraft systems
-- from mechanical to hydraulic to
electrical to engines. That close
association with an aircraft often
leads flight engineers to recognise
the habits and traits of each air-
frame, even forging a close bond
with certain aircraft.
The early days of Australian
C-130Hs brought a greater
emphasis on basic cargo and pas-
senger flights -- which included
AT HIS POST: WOFF
John Boshammer gets to
work in the cockpit.
Photo: ABPH Phillip Cullinan
I'm here to have fun but still
do the job safely. In all the
years I've been flying, it's never
scared me and I've never not
wanted to go flying.
STILL THRILLED: Flight engineer WOFF John Boshammer in front of one of his beloved C-130Hs.
Photo: LAC David Said
DEFENCE is calling for volunteers
from serving and former Air Force
members and certain family mem-
bers to participate in a new, world-first
study into the health implications of
working with aviation turbine fuels
and F-111 deseal/reseal agents.
The Jet Fuel Exposure
Syndrome Study is a new ADF ini-
tiative and follows the release of a
parliamentary inquiry report into
the impacts of the agents on F-111
workers and their families.
Its aim is to determine whether
there have been any DNA changes in
personnel who were involved in the
use of jet fuels and the deseal/reseal
agents and then conduct research into
what may be causing any changes that
may be found.
From the outcomes of the study,
the ADF is hoping to find out and
understand exactly why many of the
personnel involved with the jet fuels
and solvents used became so ill and
also to ensure it does not happen
again in the future.
Defence is calling for volunteers
from serving or past members of the
Air Force who participated in one
of the recognised F-111 deseal/reseal
programs; serving and past members
who were not involved in those and
who did not have direct exposure to
F-111 jet fuel; and first-degree rela-
tives (a parent, sibling or child) of
people who participated in any of the
F-111 deseal/reseal programs.
The study is a collaborative pro-
ject between the Defence Centre for
Occupational Health and the Mater
Medical Research Institute. The
research will be led by Professor
Frank Bowling, a metabolic disease
consultant and chemical pathologist.
Anyone interested in participating in
the study should contact the Defence
Centre for Occupational Health on
(02) 6127 2080 or email JFES.Study@
New jet fuel
look at DNA
WOFF John Boshammer has a bag of stories more than 30 years'
deep about his experiences on the C-130H Hercules, including
clocking 15,000 hours in the cockpit, writes Eamon Hamilton.
the Australian science mission in
"Aircraft operations on the ice
and snow were a new experience
for us -- the sheer beauty of the
place, plus we were making a sig-
nificant contribution to Antarctic
research, so you felt like you were
part of something worthwhile."
WOFF Boshammer has flown
on many Hercules mercy flights. He
recalls a departure out of Darwin
where the crew
received a distress
call from a heli-
sengers from a
gas rig, the heli-
copter had been
forced to ditch
in the Timor
Sea. "We spotted
these guys a few minutes after they
ditched in the water, while the heli-
copter was just sinking."
Marking their position, the
C-130 remained on station until a
rescue could be launched, doubt-
lessly helping to save the lives of
those in the water.
By the 1990s, Australian
C-130Hs were emerging as an air-
craft ready for war -- upgraded to
give them added protection from
enemy threats, and with crews prac-
tising tactics that would allow them
to fly in higher threat environments.
That transformation would lead
to deployment of the C-130H to
the Middle East in 2003, forging
a path that would be followed by
Australian C-130Js and C-17As.
"The H-model has now become
a very refined airborne operations
capability, much more capable
than it ever used to be," WOFF
Boshammer said. "While the basic
role for flight engineers hasn't
changed, there's more integration
for us now in tactical operations
-- threat evasion and managing self-
"I'm here to have fun but still
do the job safely. In all the years
I've been flying, it's never scared
me and I've never not wanted to go
flying. In my entire flying career
I've never had an engine failure
during a critical phase of flight, and
I've never had a fire. I've never had
something where we've thought
'we might not get back from this'.
I've never doubted that it was not
going to get us home."
While some cultures change
over 30 years, WOFF Boshammer
noted the crew dynamic of a
C-130H -- two pilots, a navigator,
flight engineer and loadmaster --
has remained intact.
"The dynamics of five people,
going away and meeting the chal-
lenges, is what makes this a good
job."WOFF Boshammer ticked over
his 15,000th hour during a return
leg from Operation Astute, flying
between Darwin and Richmond.
"I'm going to keep flying the Hs
as long as I can keep flying."
WOFF Boshammer said his fly-
ing hours were the culmination of
hard work by others.
"I'm only here because of the
people I've flown with, everyone
from the maintainers who service
the aircraft, the orderly room, to the
medics and firefighters.
"It's a whole-of-service effort,
and without them, I wouldn't have
reached 15,000 hours."
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