Milestone in Career of Aviation
1 February 2016
In an amazing career spanning 34 years and multiple deployments across the world a Royal Australian Air Force loadmaster recorded his 10,000 flying hour while on a mission in the Middle East.
Warrant Officer (WO) Tony Hall, of the Air Mobility Task Group's C-130J Detachment, passed the major landmark in the skies over Iraq on December 17, 2015.
His main role with the Hercules detachment is to support Operation Accordion and its subordinate operations, Operation High Road in Afghanistan and Operation Okra in Iraq.
WO Hall, who is normally based with Number 37 Squadron at RAAF Base Richmond, said the rare achievement of reaching 10,000 flying hours was a personal milestone.
"It means I've been flying for a long time," he said.
WO Hall began his career with the Air Force as an airframe fitter working on F-111C strike aircraft, Chinook helicopters and Hercules tactical transport aircraft before becoming a C-130 flight engineer in 1990.
He has now flown for 25 years and although he has spent the majority of his time on the Hercules, he also spent 170 flying hours on the smaller DHC-4 Caribou transport aircraft.
WO Hall said he became a C-130 loadmaster in 2013 when the role of the flight engineer role became redundant.
"It was a challenge learning a new trade in my late forties, but it has kept me young," he said.
"Though my fresh role is physically more demanding, it is also rewarding to be able to learn something new everyday and I'm still flying with a great bunch of people."
His first major deployment was in 2002 when he was as the operations officer with Number 37 Squadron in Kurdistan for 14 weeks in the early days of Operation Slipper.
He is currently on his fifth operational deployment with the Hercules to the Middle East. WO Hall's previous deployments include Somalia and Timor Leste.
WO Hall said he loved flying and one of his most memorable flights was when he looked after the former Prime Minister John Howard when he visited Baghdad for a dawn service on Anzac Day in 2004.
"I have also been involved in search and rescue and aero medical evacuations, humanitarian and disaster relief missions," he said.
"Our most recent humanitarian mission was during Operation Philippines Assist to provide support following the devastation caused by Typhoon Haiyan.
"They were long days of delivering tents and food and evacuating the displaced locals who had lost everything.
"It's always good to meet people and help them out when they need it."
WO Hall said his greatest thanks were to his wife and children.
"They have had to put up with me coming and going at all hours of the day or night for the last two and a half decades," he said.
"If it wasn’t for their support I wouldn't have been able to fly as much as I have."