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March 3, 2011
TUCKED away in a quiet corner
of south-west Melbourne is an
Air Force pilot doing a unique
and satisfying job.
SQNLDR Stephen Baker is the only
Air Force pilot posted to the RAAF
Museum at Point Cook, where he has
the thrill of flying the old warbirds
"This posting may be news to a lot
of people," SQNLDR Baker said.
"But after being involved in Air
Training Wing, which the museum
comes under, I believed it was the best
job in the Air Force."
He said there were three factors
which sold the posting to him -- he got
to live in Melbourne, display heritage
aeroplanes and run all the flying opera-
"The type of flying we do is just
awesome," he said.
"We do three flying displays a week
using the old warbirds. It is a very inter-
active display because the crowd gets
to come up and ask you questions. It's
much more personal than the flying dis-
plays we normally do in the Air Force."
At the moment SQNLDR Baker
flies the Winjeel and CT-4, but there are
three other aircraft that can do displays,
the Sopwith Pup, Tiger Moth and CAC
"Those aircraft cover a lot of our Air
"We also get many old pilots that
come along who used to fly these
planes. To listen to their experiences is
A lot of SQNLDR Baker's work
is PR-based; working with the media
and taking school groups through the
"Getting to show special-needs kids
the museum and the aircraft and to see
the looks on their faces is pretty special.
"I also have to manage the pilot
workforce that does the flying, which
are either reservists or volunteers, and
I conduct their annual tests and make
sure their displays are safe."
SQNLDR Baker is a qualified flying
instructor, a requirement for the post-
ing, with 20 years' experience in the Air
"This posting gives you the respon-
sibility to be your own boss and to
make all the flying-related decisions for
the museum," he said.
Soaring with warbirds
Shhhhh. No one must know
this pilot reckons he has one
heck of a job. CPL Aaron
"We work under a stringent chain of
One of the biggest challenges for
him is that the museum sits in a grey
"We are under strict Air Force
guidelines with everything we do, but
we have civilian-registered aeroplanes,"
SQNLDR Baker said.
"We must comply with Civil
Aviation Safety Authority (CASA)
rules and regulations and sometimes
they clash with Air Force regulations,
especially when it comes to fly-pasts.
So it comes down to satisfying the Air
Force's and CASA's requirements,
getting the job done and done safely."
SQNLDR Baker said apart from
flying displays at Point Cook, they
regularly supported many events,
including Remembrance Day in
Melbourne and even the historic car
shows at Sandown Racecourse.
"I have been here for seven months
now and will try to stay as long as I
can," he said with a grin.
"Everyone stay away because I want
to keep this job."
with a CT-4
is a Bristol
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