A PILOT instructor at HMAS Albatross has reached a rare milestone – more than 9000 flying hours.
723 Squadron pilot instructor Lieutenant Commander Tony Reyne has spent the equivalent of 375 days airborne.
LCDR Reyne started in naval aviation in 1977, and over the years has flown in most types of aircraft in the RAN inventory.
LCDR Reyne joined the navy in 1970 as an apprentice at HMAS Nirimba. Since then he has flown the CT4 and Macchi and the Bell Iroquois UH-1B, Wessex 31B, Bell 206 B-1 Kiowa, Gazelle HT-2, Squirrel AS 350B, Sea King and Seahawk helicopters.
In his 43-year career, he has conducted operations from aircraft carrier HMAS Melbourne; received the Fleet Commander Commendation for successful surveillance tasking of the USSR’s scale model Space Shuttle Indian Ocean recovery; successfully rescued five Wessex (819) crew members after they ditched off Bondi Beach following an engine failure; spent over five years as senior pilot/executive officer with 723 Squadron “working with the best team in the Fleet Air Arm”; received the Active Service Medal for his work with Squirrel Flight for Operation Warden/
Stabilise in East Timor, and a Cat A QFI in recognition of his considerable experience in 2009, a Federation Star in 2010 and, in the same year, he was granted the first Specialist (Pilot) category.
In 2011 he achieved 4000 hours in the Squirrel helicopter and was awarded Navy Commendation – Silver for 723 Squadron service.
LCDR Reyne said he felt “really chuffed” with his latest achievement.
“I really find it hard to believe that I have spent so much time conducting military flying since being awarded my wings in September 1977,” he said.
“I have spent my whole working life involved in naval aviation and I have loved every moment, flying and instructing is a passion and the navy has given me the opportunity to indulge that passion for a long time.”
“I hope I’ve given good service in return and I hope the milestone is a good example for the junior aircrew coming up the line.
“I guess the biggest buzz on the day was to achieve this milestone while conducting an instructional sortie with a student, I think he was also chuffed and will have that memory for a long time.”