After a long and successful stint as the Head of Air Shows, Air Commodore Christopher ‘Noddy’ Sawade handed over command to Air Commodore Michael Gray at an official ceremony on July 4 at RAAF Base Darwin.
The role includes conducting a rolling five-year program of Defence domestic air shows and RAAF bases open days, managing resources and developing the Air Show Team, and training flying display supervisors and ringmasters.
Air Commodore Sawade started with the Air Show Team in March 2013 as understudy to Air Commodore Phil Byrne, and took over from him following the Centenary of Military Aviation Air Show at RAAF Base Point Cook in March 2014.
He expressed his pride over all that he and his team have achieved over the years.
“I have worked with a team of talented, dedicated and hard-working reservists delivering extremely successful air shows at Point Cook, Melbourne in 2014, Townsville in 2016 and Edinburgh, South Australia, in 2019, and successful Exercise Pitch Black Open Days in 2014, 2016 and 2018,” Air Commodore Sawade said.
“We’ve come a long way [with how] we deliver high quality air show events since 2014.
“I am proud of leading a capable team who always look at improving their part in this process. I am confident that this will continue under the leadership of Air Commodore Gray and I wish him all the best for the future,” Air Commodore Sawade said.
Air Commodore Gray’s Air Force career spans over 37 years flying F-111s, RAF Tornados and Super Hornets and commanding No. 1 Squadron, No. 6 Squadron, and No. 82 Wing.
His career also includes tours in No. 81 Wing, Capability Development Group, Air Force Headquarters, the Middle East, US Central Command Headquarters, and the Vice Chief of the Defence Force Executive.
Air Commodore Gray is pleased to be extending that career as a reservist.
“Air shows and flypasts are a very important part of Air Force’s community engagement and recruiting activities,” Air Commodore Gray said.
“Ultimately, we want all air shows and flypasts to have a positive effect on community support to Defence and to encourage a wide range of people to join the Air Force."
“I am looking forward to being responsible for ensuring those details are covered to provide the best event possible.”