Meet Your Instructors
Martin Hughes - Chief Flying Instructor
Martin Hughes’ life story didn’t begin in Australia – his roots go back to the other side of the world in the United Kingdom. Flying even back then was in the family blood. His father flew Short Sunderland aircraft on anti-submarine convoy protection with Royal Air Force (RAF) Coastal Command in the North Atlantic during the Second World War.
Martin was accepted as an officer cadet at the RAF College Cranwell, graduating with the aerobatic prize. He then moved on to 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. Martin was then posted to the RAF's Central Flying School at Little Rissington where he qualified as an instructor back on the Folland Gnat, spending 2 years training students and then 3 years back at the Central Flying School to train instructors, including members of the famed RAF Red Arrows Aerobatic team.
After 12 years of military service, Martin’s father suggested that he might like to leave the RAF and take over the family business, The Silver Brumby Inn, in Thredbo. Opting for premature retirement, Martin decided to accept this offer and emigrated to Australia.
Having gained his RA-Aus Pilot Certificate and qualified as a Chief Flying Instructor, Martin 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 (Aquila Audax Australis - AAA!) and a name to match the locality, Alpine Aviation Australia (AAA). In the past ten years, Martin has trained many 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’! If you are really lucky, in the right place at the right time, you may be offered the opportunity to take a seat in Martin’s CT4A (the Parrot) and either go fly formation with his friend Paul in his NanChang CJ6, or really have some fun "looping the loop” and rolling around the sky with some aerobatics over Lake Jindabyne!"
Kirk Amos - Senior Flying Instructor
I have recently joined Martin at Alpine Aviation as an instructor to work with the flying school and I am very pleased to be part of Martin’s flight school.
I first learned to fly powered aircraft in Jabirus at Tooradin in Victoria back in 2006. Having flown in many different models of Jabiru from that time on I have quite a lot of experience flying these aircraft as well as quite a few other RA-Aus registered aircraft, including Texans and Tecnam. Two of my more memorable flights in a Jabiru were over the 12 Apostles and also flying Victor 1 which is a transit route along the coast of Sydney past the harbour at 500 ft.. What a great way to see Sydney.
Quite a bit of my flying time has also been in gliders. I started flying gliders at the Gliding Club of Victoria (GCV) at Benalla in Victoria during my time off whilst I was working overseas in various oil and gas jobs including in Libya and Angola. GCV is a great club with a welcoming atmosphere and arguably the best gliding club in Australia with thousands of kilometres of cross country flying occurring each year. GCV has held the world championships twice, most recently in 2017, with pilots coming from many different countries to compete.
Gliding is an incredible sport, and a real challenge. Trying to stay aloft, fly long distances and then fly those distances faster. The Australian gliding distance record is 1582 kms, from Kingaroy to Benalla in 2018. Imagine trying to fly a small plane that far in one day let alone without an engine.
In 2010 I became an instructor at Benalla which I really enjoyed. It is great seeing the improvement of a pilot as they build their skill and confidence and fantastic watching them fly their first solo sorties. A huge milestone for every pilot. Since then I have done a considerable amount of flight instructing, including aerobatics as most gliders can do basic aerobatics like spins and loops.
By 2014 I had obtained my PPL and the necessary endorsements so that I could fly the Piper Pawnee towplanes, towing the gliders. This is a great way to fly, build hours, help gliders get into the sky and, of course, fly for free. Flying the Pawnee tail dragger is a demanding task, often with many gliders in the sky near the airstrip, so lookout is vitally important, with a queue of gliders on the ground waiting to be towed so flying accurately to reduce each tow time is required.
In 2018 I took on the role of Chief Flying Instructor responsible for flight operations including the tow operations at GCV and about 30 instructors. This still takes up a fair share of my time.
And here is a little more about some of my flying experience for those that are interested. Over the years I have enjoyed flying in a few great locations, building my skills and experience including the following:
2008 Mountain flying course – Wanaka NZ flying a Tecnam light sport aircraft;
2015, flying gliders in New Zealand, up to 17,000 ft in mountain wave. Such great flying over the mountains, including Mt Cook, and, with that height, able to see the Tasman Sea. Wonderful;
2019, Alaska. Float flying course in Super Cub and then bush flying landing and taking off from small bush strips and gravel river bars. What a beautiful place to fly and take in the scenery;
2020 – and 2021 Victorian Gliding championship flying a two-seat glider with another GCV instructor. A lot of fun was had.
I hope to see you at Alpine Aviation Australia, Jindabyne. It is great place to learn to fly, build your skills or hire a Jabiru.