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September 29, 2011
FLTLT Skye Smith
TOP training tips were exchanged
when staff from the Australian Insti-
tute of Sport (AIS) visited 2OCU.
The 'Coaches Exchange' opened
dialogue between training staff at
both AIS and 2OCU to discuss the
similarities for training elite athletes
and F/A-18 Hornet instruction and
CO 2OCU WGCDR David Smith
said the visit provided a unique
opportunity to discuss the need for the
highly critical development of coach-
ing and instructional staff for high
"The skill acquisition and training
techniques for fighter pilots and elite
athletes is very similar," he said.
"The visit by AIS was a valuable
experience for everyone involved and
provided the opportunity to share
knowledge, training and development
2OCU briefs on the 81WG training
cycle and dual instruction provided AIS
staff with an insight into Hornet training
and pilot development.
In return, AIS staff provided briefs
on skills and drills, coaching perspec-
tives and innovation.
A simulator mission demonstrated
the eye-tracking system, which is simi-
lar to that used with elite athletes at AIS.
To round out the pilot training
experience, 2OCU instructors dem-
onstrated a mission brief, including
intercepts and basic fighter manoeu-
vres, plus passenger debriefs.
The AIS trainers described the visit
to 2OCU as "stimulating and a worth-
while coaching experience" as they
compared training techniques for elite
performance with the Hornet instruc-
tors.The AIS team included Shannon
Rollason, AIS swimming head coach;
Emmett Lazich, AIS sailing and
national coach; Greg McFadden, AIS
and national women's water- polo
head coach; Damian Farrow, AIS/
Victoria University, Skill Acquisition
and Research; and Derek Panchuk,
Victoria University, Vision Expert and
Skill Learning Lecturer.
Institute of Sport coaches look skywards
SGT Andrew Hetherington
AFTER FLTLT Gus Larard ferried
one of Australia's first Hornets
from the US in 1985, he posed
behind the aircraft for a photo-
Well, now his son PLTOFF
James Larard has a matching
When it came time for a
photograph for Air Force News,
PLTOFF Larard, one of the stu-
dents on the course, posed for a
photo of similar composition.
It's a picture that will fit fine in
the family album too. He's con-
tinuing a proud tradition.
Far from just following in his
father's footsteps, both his grand-
father and great grandfather were
"My great grandfather was a
gunner on Catalinas in WWII, my
grandfather joined the Air Force
in the '50s and flew the Sabre,
Vampire, Meteor and Mirage and
was a forward air controller in
Vietnam," PLTOFF Larard said.
Aside from flying Hornets, his
father also flew Mirages.
PLTOFF Larard, who joined Air
Force after finishing high school
in 2007, recalls his first solo flight
in a Hornet after only completing
three other flights in the jet.
"I did the flight in a single seat
aircraft and when I looked over
my shoulder I couldn't see anyone
behind me," PLTOFF Larard said.
"I flew a supersonic run, did
some maximum performance
handling manoeuvres and came
back and did some circuits around
"It's always been my dream to
fly it and I'll be stoked if I get to
continue and increase my experi-
ence and further develop myself
as a pilot."
in the Hornets' nest
ANOTHER ONE FOR THE
AMILY ALBUM: PLTOFF James
arard poses with a Hornet -- just
ke his dad Gus did in this inset
hoto in 1985.
Main photo: SGT Andrew Hetherington
Following in a
2OCU's Flightline Aircraft Mainte-
nance and Avionics Officer FLGOFF
Travis Quick said the unit has
130 personnel working in three
sections to keep the aircraft and
students airborne to complete the
course in time.
"Avionics, aircraft and gunnery
engineers work around-the-clock
to keep up to 16 aircraft airborne,"
FLGOFF Quick said.
"Engineers work up to 12
hours, in one of two shifts a day;
an A and B shift. The A shift works
between 7am to 4pm and B shift
between 3.30pm and 12.30am."
LAC Ravneel Maniam is a
Hornet avionics fitter and has been
in the Air Force for two years.
"On a daily basis my job varies
with working on jets which have
been classified as unserviceable,"
LAC Maniam said.
"I could be replacing a box out
of a certain system, working on an
oxygen system and I trouble-shoot
on problems which pop up on
something like a radar.
"It's a pretty straight forward
job if you have a lot of experience
on the systems.
Despite the many challenges,
he said he comes into work each
day "happy to be here".
"It can be a challenge some-
times trying to balance the military
side of my career with getting all of
my jobs on the aircraft done.
"But the biggest challenge
would be trouble-shooting prob-
lems, especially when there are
multiple faults with the aircraft."
130 PERSONNEL KEEP THEM FLYING
BUSY, BUSY: LAC Ravneel
Maniam at work.
Photo: SGT Andrew Hetherington
them and their families, particularly
students who have changed aircraft
One of the six students who fits
this description is former Navy heli-
copter pilot, LEUT Ben Scorey.
He juggles his hectic course rou-
tine and workload living with his wife
and four children aged between one
and six years old.
He was in the Navy for 15 years
and flew Seahawks.
"Growing up seeing fast jets in
the magazines and in the movie Top
Gun, flying jets was what I wanted to
do and I took a circular route to get
here," LEUT Scorey said.
"I was always keen to come over
to Air Force and after I did my time
flying Seahawks, Navy let me transfer
across in October 2009.
"The jets are awesome to fly and
the manoeuvrability is eye watering.
You can't understand what it's like
until you fly it."
He said you can't really compare
flying a Seahawk to a Hornet.
"Flying jets is awesome but when I
was flying choppers I was also having
a ball," LEUT Scorey said.
"Even though we are only a short
time into this course, so far we've
been pitting ourselves up against
instructors and other pilots, which is
what we'll have to do when we leave
here; it's going to be part of our job.
"The most difficult part of the
course so far was getting through all
of the work, as the bar is set high, and
is there for a reason and you have to
be hard on yourself to get through it.
"I'm working five days a week
and studying on Sundays, helping
my family when I'm at home and my
wife's very understanding."
2OCU also runs a six-month
Fighter Combat Instructor course
every two years.
"It's a really neat part of the job
and it's pretty motivating for me to try
to help them fix their problems.
"I try to find out what the student's
thinking and how I can help him by
trying to think back to when I was a
student on the course."
SQNLDR Simpson said students
had to develop a thick skin during a
course and be extremely responsive to
constructive criticism about their fly-
"Guys take a few psychological
hits during the course and for us to
help them we have to try to under-
stand their personal circumstances,
such as if they have any domestic or
personal administration issues," he
"Instructors almost get a psy-
che degree by proxy working here,
because they end up instructing so
many students with so many different
"Sometimes we get students who
appear confident, but they are not.
It's really a façade to try to overcome
what they are feeling. And other stu-
dents need a push, as they are always
giving themselves a hard time, expect-
ing too much from themselves and
think they are not performing as well
as they really are."
For students to succeed on the
course they need to keep up with the
rapid pace of information being fed
"Most students could pass an
F/A-18 course if it had no time limit,
but the reason we put a time limit
on it was for students to show they
can demonstrate a level of learning
and handle the progression through
the training and continue to progress
learning to an operational fighter
squadron, providing capability to
Defence," SQNLDR Simpson said.
"It's a difficult course to pass and
requires a huge commitment from
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