Alpine Aviation Australia (AAA) (www.alpineaviationoz.com.au) operates a Recreational Aviation Australia (RA-Aus) (www.raa.asn.au) flight training facility offering flying instruction for beginners of all ages, conversions from GA or type, flight reviews and RA-Aus endorsements.
Chief Flying Instructor (CFI)
Martin Hughes’ life story didn’t begin in Australia – born in 1943, his roots go back to the other side of the world in the United Kingdom. Flying even back then was a family trait. His father flew Short Sunderland aircraft with the Royal Air Force (RAF) Coastal Command during the Second World War in the North Atlantic. In 1961, Martin was accepted as an officer cadet at RAF Cranwell, graduating with the aerobatic prize in December 1963. Next step was advanced jet training in the Folland Gnat, a transonic jet trainer, at RAF Valley in Anglesea, Wales. “This aircraft was a delight to fly. It could go supersonic in a dive, gave the pilot an excellent command of view and handled beautifully.”
His next posting was to a Canberra reconnaissance squadron for three years which took him to the Near East, Middle East and the Far East. “That was a great tour,” he commented. Eventually, Martin found his way back to Folland Gnats, this time as flying instructor where he spent 2 years training students and 3 years training other instructors, including members of the famed RAF Red Arrows Aerobatic team.
In 1972, Martin’s father suggested that he might like to emigrate to Australia and take over the management of the family business, the Silver Brumby Ski Lodge in Thredbo. Opting for premature retirement, he then departed the UK arriving in Australia in May 1973. In 1979, The Board of Fire Commission began enforcing regulations and lodge owners were compelled to upgrade their facilities in order to satisfy revised fire safety standards. The costs were enormous and therefore difficult for most lodge owners to absorb in their running costs. Four years later, in 1983, the whole scenario was repeated and. for Martin’s father, this was the last straw. He made the decision to place the Silver Brumby up for sale.
In 1984, Martin, Sally and the family left Thredbo and took up residence across the Tasman running a motel at Lake Hayes near Queenstown for a short period. They returned to Australia later that year and bought a house in Canberra. They ran several businesses over the next 20 years whilst educating their two girls, retiring in 2004 to Michelago where they had purchased a rural block on the Murrumbidgee River.
The long-ignored urges to take to the air had begun to reawaken and reassert themselves. In 2000, Martin approached Brindabella Airlines to see what career possibilities could be pursued. This meant undergoing an arduous regime of theory training and exams and at this stage, it all seemed far too expensive and enormously over-regulated and so he decided to withdraw from the program.
Having joined the local fire brigade and established other contacts locally, Martin was asked to represent the community by standing as candidate for local elections for the Cooma Monaro Shire Council. He was duly elected in 2008 and served for 8 years as a councillor before deciding not to stand again on amalgamation of the local councils in 2016. In the meantime, he made the acquaintance of Michael Apps, the Chief Flying Instructor and owner of the Polo Flat based Snowy Aviation Academy. Michael introduced him to Recreational Aviation – something he knew relatively little about. Having completed the R/A licence and re-qualified as a flying instructor, he joined the Jindabyne Aero Club and, on 02 May 2012, opened his new flight training facility at Jindabyne Randall Community Aerodrome, with the iconic wedge tail eagle as his logo and a name to match the locality, Alpine Aviation Australia. In the past six years, Martin has trained several students to pilot certificate standard with cross country and passenger carrying endorsements. Some have gone on to military training, others into civil aviation and the rest just happy to fly recreationally. AAA has students from both local schools, Jindabyne Central School and the Snowy Mountains Grammar School, and several adults over a range of ages. There is never a dull moment - except when the weather prevents any flying! But, even then, there is plenty to occupy the mind and any excess energy - aircraft need washing from time to time, just like pilots! Jindabyne and the Snowy Mountains provide magnificent scenery and they are only 45 minutes from Merimbula and the coast! Come fly with AAA and learn how to soar like an eagle and 'slip the surly bonds of earth'!
The Jabiru is an Australian designed and built aircraft (Bundaberg, Qld) and is in service with many flight training facilities as well as being a popular choice for recreational pilots. The 120C is a two seat aircraft of strong, durable, composite construction, powered by an 80HP 2200cc 4 Cylinder Jabiru engine. It has a fully enclosed cockpit, light and responsive controls and can cruise at 100Knots (TAS). Its uncomplicated layout and instrument panel makes it an ideal basic training aircraft for student pilots.