Former Army aviator and Boeing aircrewman Greg Maiden recently clocked up 5000 flying hours in CH-47 Chinooks at RAAF Base Townsville.
“Boeing keeps records of the flying hours and there are very few that have achieved this milestone,” Mr Maiden said.
The hours were accrued throughout his flying career, which started in 1998 on the CH-47D model.
On the return from the milestone flight where he completed his 5000th hour, airfield firefighting trucks sprayed a water arch that Mr Maiden’s aircraft taxied through.
“When I reached my first 1000 flying hours, I was ecstatic, then I earned my 2nd, 3rd and 4th,” he said.
“What was done for me with the water arches was mind-boggling and I was totally taken by surprise.”
Mr Maiden joined the Army at the age of 19 and became an avionics technician.
His career evolved into the role of aircrewman technician and he completed four full-length deployments with Chinooks in Afghanistan
“On my very first flight with the CH-47D Chinook in Afghanistan, just seeing the country from the air was an awakening and reaffirmed that the job was on,” he said.
“Towards the end of the rotary wing group rotations, I did two shorter tours to conduct major maintenance testing on the CH-47D Chinooks, as well as local area orientation flights for the new aircrew arrivals in theatre.”
In 2016, then-Warrant Officer Class Two Maiden took a civilian job with Boeing Defence Australia as a CH-47F Chinook aircrewman technician instructor and transferred to the Army Reserve.
“In my current role with Boeing, I pretty much do most things I did as a soldier,” he said.
“With the recent bushfires, I deployed as a civilian with the 5th Aviation Regiment and was able to pitch in and help.”
Mr Maiden said his transition from Army to civilian life was almost seamless.
“It’s like I am still part of the ADF family,” he said.
“My job hasn’t really changed in the transition from ADF to my civilian employment; it was more just a change in uniform.
“Aviation is a specialised field and I am privileged to still work with a lot of the same people.”
Mr Maiden said he had no regrets after his 26 years’ service.
“It was the best decision I ever made. I love flying and fixing aircraft,” he said.
Commander 16h Aviation Brigade Brigadier David Hafner paid tribute to Mr Maiden’s service.
“Every day our people across the Army Aviation capability pull on their uniforms, live our values and do exceptional work on behalf of our nation,” Brigadier Hafner said.
“Mr Maiden’s contribution to Army and as a Defence contractor is meaningful and truly appreciated.”