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MEET THE BOARD & IME

 

RAY CRONIN

President

Ray commenced his aviation career with the Department of Civil Aviation as a “Flight Service Officer” achieving a Diploma in Air Traffic Services. Having qualified as a Commercial Aeroplane Pilot he flew both single engine and multi engine aeroplanes on charter in Northern Queensland. He completed his Commercial Helicopter Pilot Licence in 1980 and flew single engine helicopter on charter operations in eastern Australia. In the period 1983-84, Ray gained a Helicopter Instructor rating and a Chief Flying Instructor approval.

In 1985 Ray established "Kestrel Aviation Pty Ltd" which specialised in helicopter pilot training. This business expanded with the selling aviation services including flying training to overseas customers Japan, South Korea, India, Europe, Ireland, Oman, Qatar and Sri Lanka. Systems were developed for the purchase and operation of aeroplanes and helicopters, management of flight crew, engineers and administration, financial control and budgeting. As a result, a number of helicopters and aeroplanes were imported and certified from overseas. He has experience as an Aviation Consultant to the resource industry.

Ray has been innovative in a number of areas:

  • Management Lease of Mangalore Airport, a first for the private sector
  • Introduction of Helicopter Flight Training device
  • Instructor/Check and Training Pilot refresher courses
  • Floating Helipad Melbourne CBD


Ray has first-hand involvement in pilot training syllabus development to all licence and rating levels. He has been an Adviser to the Australian Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA) on safety and training issues. Ray has over 10,000 hours aeronautical experience in the industry and has held the titles of Chief Pilot and Chief Flying Instructor for over 30 years.

Service to Industry:

  • Foundation member of Aviation Safety Foundation of Australia (ASFA)
  • Helicopter representative for “Flight Training Panel” (Appointed by CASA-CEO)
  • Industry consultant for development of the new ‘Helicopter flight training syllabus’
  • Industry consultant for helicopter flight test standards CASA
  • Industry representative for the development of the ‘Flight Testing Office’ CASA.
  • Developed the ‘Helicopter flight instructor’s manual’ in conjunction with CASA.
  • Initiated, produced and presented two Chief Flying instructors conferences funded by CASA.
  • Flight Safety Foundation - Helicopter Advisory Group Member
  • AHIA - Vice President since 2015

MYLES TOMKINS

Vice President / Treasurer

Myles completed a Commercial Aeroplane Pilot Licence in 1976 followed by a Commercial Helicopter Pilot Licence in 1982. Between 1982 and 1986 he flew as a pilot with HeliMuster before purchasing Airwork Helicopters in 1991.

Myles is also the Chief Pilot of Airwork Helicopters which specialises in a wide range of helicopter operations including mustering, spraying, powerline inspections and firefighting operations using a variety of helicopter types.

Myles has held an ATO approval for many years and continues to exercise the privileges of this qualification in assisting other organisations maintain their standards.
His main concern for the industry is the shortage of suitable pilots having the relevant background experience, the necessary CASA checking/testing qualifications and most importantly, the desire to make a career in the flying training industry either as mentors, instructors or examiners.


JOHN ARMSTRONG

Director

John commenced helicopter flying in 1974 as a private mustering pilot in the Northern Territory before completing the Commercial Helicopter Pilot Licence in 1980. He worked at Victoria River Downs (VRD) as a pilot and later as the Operations Manager for twelve years. During this time he held CASA approvals/delegations as a Check and Training pilot for Low Level/Mustering/Sling operations and held endorsement approval for Bell 47 helicopters.

Following his time at VRD, John established a helicopter company specialising in mustering/survey/agriculture operations utilising R22/R44/B206 helicopters. He is also the Chief Pilot of the company.

John brings strong business experience to the AHIA having previously owned and operated two tourism venturers in the Northern Territory in a partnership. He has experience in agri- politics over many years having represented the cattle industry at state level.

His greatest concern for the Low Level Airwork helicopter community centres firstly, on ability of the industry to understand the recent legislative changes and secondly, with the expansion of the industry, the potential lack of exposure of current pilots to the tips and techniques (mentoring) that enhance safety but cannot necessarily be recorded in technical notes or legislative documents.


ALAN BAILEY

Director

Over the past 30 years, Alan has provided a diverse range of aviation solutions to the private and government sectors. With experience in business management, aircraft engineering and aviation operations, (both fixed wing and rotary aircraft) gaining a reputation for delivering exceptional quality, safe aviation solutions.

As Heliwest CEO, Alan's focus is on creating positive change and process improvement to their values-based organisation. He is committed to building on their culture of safety and excellence, and providing their diverse portfolio of clients with the support needed to keep them moving. Alan is honoured to enjoy the trust of his clients including the WA Health Department, Dept of Fire and Emergency Services, BHP, FMG, Rio Tinto and Western Power.

As the son of two pilots, flying is 'in his blood' and he continues to get up in the air at every opportunity. He now looks forward to training the next generation, including his teenage sons.

Heliwest Group provides a full suite of services including;

  • helicopter transport services
  • engineering servicing
  • helicopter sales and valuation
  • spare parts
  • emergency medical services
  • Fire and Police Surveillance
  • flying training
  • night vision goggle operations and training
  • RPAS operations and training
  • powerline & pipeline inspection
  • mining services
  • geological survey
  • mosquito control.

JIM NORRIE

Director

Jim began his flying career mustering cattle for Helimuster in 1986. Since then, Jim has flown in excess of 13,000 hours as pilot in command on a wide range of operations including up to 9000 hours on mustering and feral animal control. For over 25 years, Jim has also managed companies operating large fleets of helicopter and fixed wing aircraft. He has also acted as CEO of a maintenance company and an avionics business. Under Jim’s control, these companies regularly flew in excess of 16,000 hours per annum with a fleet numbering over 20 aircraft.

Testimony to his management abilities is that he was seconded to the Sydney Olympics Broadcasting Organisation to manage and control all aviation operations during the successful Sydney 2000 Olympic Games. His experience in similar operations extends to the management of operations in PNG and India. Jim has also had much experience in flying and managing helicopter drill rig shifts for clients such as BHP Billiton and the Sydney Catchment Authority

Jim has dedicated himself to improving the safety and efficiency of those organisations under his control and has also contributed greatly to the industry in general.  Outside of his working life, Jim is a dedicated family man, having raised two sons and has always been very active in local community sporting organisations.


SHANNON O'HARA

Director

Shannon O’Hara is the Legal Counsel to the Aviation Team at QBE Insurance Australia Pacific. In this role she partners with the aviation underwriting and aviation claims teams to efficiently assess and provide legal guidance on underwriting risk exposures, aviation litigation and claims strategies and general insurance law matters affecting the aviation business. In addition Shannon works closely with QBE’s Aviation’s industry development team to support, promote and develop aviation safety, industry growth and thought leadership.

Prior to joining QBE Insurance in February 2019, Shannon worked in private legal practice for 14 years specialising in Australian and international aviation law with a particular focus on aviation insurance and litigation. Shannon has managed commercial and litigated disputes across Australia, the United States of America, Papua New Guinea, the United Kingdom, Fiji, and the Pacific Islands with particular experience in managing major aviation losses and personal injury claims for aviation operators in Papua New Guinea.

A constant industry contributor, Shannon is a Director on the National Board of the Aviation Law Association of Australia and New Zealand (ALAANZ), Vice-President of the Queensland Branch of ALAANZ and more recently has joined with the Board of the Australian Helicopter Industry Association (AHIA). Shannon was recently nominated to take part in the #celebratingwomeninlaw campaign recognising women who have had an influence on the legal profession, in 2015 she was identified by Australasian Lawyer as one of “50 Women to Watch / Experts in their Field” and has been recognised by Best Lawyers (Aviation) in 2018 and 2019.

Shannon holds degrees in Law and Commerce with a major in Politics and Public Policy from Griffith University, is a mother to two beautiful children, a self-confessed av-geek, prolific reader, pilates and yoga addict, traveller and foodie-in-heels.


LACHIE ONSLOW

Director

Lachie gained his Fixed Wing licence in 1990 and Helicopter licence in 1993.

Lachie started Fleet Helicopters in 1990 and has since amassed over 30 years and 13000+ hours experience of providing helicopter and fixed wing services nationwide. In 2014 Lachie purchased Commercial Helicopters and now also owns and operates aircraft maintenance and aviation refuelling companies.

Lachie’s focus is on low level aerial work including firefighting, aerial shooting, external load, aerial agriculture, utilities support and construction. He also has a focus on ensuring there is a strong and sustainable aviation industry with the capacity and capability to satisfy the community and emergency service industry needs.


IAN SHEFFIELD

Director

After a 20 year career in finance, Ian joined McDermott Aviation in 1999.

As Chief Operating Officer, Ian has been instrumental in establishing aerial firefighting and lifting operations throughout Australia, USA, Canada, Europe, New Caledonia, PNG and Indonesia. Having dealt with those regulatory authorities, and holding the Accountable Manager position with CASA PNG for over 10 years, he has a solid understanding of international regulations and foreign aircraft operations.

Ian has been McDermott Aviation’s designated Contract Manager with the National Aerial Firefighting Centre (NAFC) since it was established in 2003 and has been actively involved in the evolution of aerial firefighting in Australia.

Ian is passionate about finding solutions to the engineering challenges being experienced globally across our industry and in fostering a safe and inclusive workplace culture.

In 2020, Ian completed the Australian Institute of Company Directors course and took up a board position with Aviation Insurance Brokers of Australia.


PAUL TYRRELL

CEO

Paul is an experienced Association and NGO CEO having led the Regional Aviation Association of Australia, two national NGOs and one international NGO.

Paul is a past chair of Airport Coordination Australia.

He has been an active pilot for over 35 years and still owns a number of aircraft.

During his career he was a Chief of Staff to a Federal Minister and has worked at senior executive level in the Federal public service.

He is a founding board member and was Deputy Chairman of the Australian Aviation Hall of Fame.

He is a member of the Australian chapter of the Honourable Company of Air Pilots.

Paul was also a Director of Recreational Aviation Australia.

Paul is a registered psychologist due to an earlier career working in schools.