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12 Super Hornet
AIR FORCE April 1, 2010
AIRCRAFT technician CPL Peter
Miani says that being selected last
year to join the team at Lemoore to
train on the F/A-18Fs and then bring
them home was the best part of his
career so far.
During the past year, he has been
learning its more advanced systems.
The aircraft is not completely for-
eign to him. After completing train-
ing at RAAF Base Wagga, he posted
to RAAF Base Tindal to work on the
Hornets deployed there.
He said that the training course
at Lemoore was very comprehensive
"The US Navy's extensive and
advanced facilities were excellent,
with state-of-the-art simulators
enhancing the learning experience,"
As well as training in California,
CPL Miani has worked in Malaysia
and Alaska as well as other RAAF
AIRCRAFT life support fitter CPL
Andrew Mason says the deployment to
Lemoore to collect the RAAF's first of
the type was a mixture of contrasts.
"Being away from my wife, Jodie,
was the biggest hurdle and living in a
different country was a little strange
at first but you soon got used to it," he
He had no difficulty readjusting
to classroom training and enjoyed the
"We had all been hand-picked for
our previous experience and for what we
could bring to the squadron, so everyone
was really keen to learn as much as we
His first day at Lemoore was a
shock. Australia is acquiring 24 of the
Rhinos; the host squadron at Lemoore
(VFA-122) had 61 of them on the flight-
"The US military does things on
CORPORAL Paul Cronin says
he has always had an interest in
things that fly.
It is this interest that took the
1SQN avionic technician from the
Air Force Cadets [at school] to the
US Naval Air Station, Lemoore in
There he trained on the sys-
tems of Australia's new F/A-18F
Super Hornet aircraft.
"The F/A-18F is very similar to
the older F/A-18A and F/A-18B I
trained on earlier in my career so
a lot of the information and train-
ing was similar," CPL Cronin said.
"Once the aircraft are in
Australia, my daily job will be
doing daily flight servicing, main-
tenance and rectifications on the
aircraft and helping to train others.
"Seeing an aircraft fly after
you've spent time working on it is
the best form of job satisfaction.
"Over the past few years I've
been given some fantastic oppor-
tunities to work on a variety of
"The opportunity to train on
and work on the F/A-18F has
definitely been a highlight of my
career and the chance to live and
work in America was pretty much
a once in a lifetime opportunity,"
"I'm doing a job I really enjoy."
for these techos
Paul enjoying the ride
TOP CLASS: CPL Paul Cronin checks out the Super Hornet's
advanced avionics at Lemoore.
Photos: ACW Kylie Gibson
bases around Australia. He was look-
ing forward to supporting the new
jets on the trip home to Amberley
and the new challenges they would
present in the future.
His enthusiasm for the new
aircraft is shared by fellow 1SQN
aircraft technician, CPL Richard
Edwards, who also enjoyed the
challenging training provided in
He said the hard part was return-
ing to the classroom after becoming
accustomed to being 'hands-on' on
"It took me a week to adjust but
after that I was ok," CPL Edwards
said.Once that hurdle was overcome,
he enjoyed the experience, especially
the simulated training aspects.
"The training was fantastic. All of
the training aids made you feel like
you were actually working on the
aircraft. Sometimes even on compu-
ter simulations, I embedded myself
into it so much it felt like I had just
completed the job hands-on.
"The training kit and the US
instructors really helped to enhance
my experiences during the training
period. There aren't any major differ-
ences between the way the Americans
and we train and they were always
"The methods and the kit max-
imised my learning capabilities and
developed my abilities to maintain
such a sophisticated aircraft in a very
short time-frame," he said.
CHECK SAFE: Above, CPL Peter Miani performs nitrogen checks on
the main landing gear strut of an F/A-18F while, right, CPL Richard
Edwards prepares a combat survival vest at Lemoore.
such a large scale, so they have pretty
awesome training facilities and training
aids for you to learn on," he said.
While the 1SQN group integrated
well, enjoyed a good social life and tried
to see as much of the US as possible, it
was not until he returned to Australia
that he realised how much he missed
the little things; a meat pie, riding his
motorbike and catching up with his
wife, family and friends.
"I'd missed it all after four months,"
BREATHALYSER: CPL Andrew
Mason checks an aircrew oxygen
mask prior to a flight.
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