Rube Timmons - Course Provides Real Difference for Regional Students

Course Provides Real Difference for Regional Students

Written by Journalist, Angela Norval - Bundaberg Today, Friday August 13, 2021

For St Luke’s Anglican School student Rube Timmons, it was a simple aeroplane exhibition at the Bundaberg Airport that peaked his interest in aviation.

As part of the show, Rob Hoyland, who would later become Rube’s certificate II trainer (and eventually flight instructor), was one of the pilots taking people for recreational flights over Bundaberg.

“During the flight, Rob and I struck up a conversation and he took me through basic manoeuvres, terms and communication techniques,” Rube said.

“After landing, Rob approached me about a certificate II in aircraft line maintenance, a course that would lead on, in later years, to a certificate III in unmanned aerial operations.

“I would go on to complete these courses at the top of my class, and discover a passion for the aeronautical industry.

“Contacts made through my minor involvement in the industry allowed me to get into contact with faculty at the Bundaberg LifeFlight base, and eventually the chief engineer.

“I continued to branch out, and managed to acquire a week-long period of work experience under the head engineers at Brisbane’s primary LifeFlight base.

“This experience was incredibly rewarding, with both hands on and theoretical experiences. “It gave me a taste of a full-length work week of Brisbane city commerce, and working days; an incredible experience which allowed me to solidify an idea of what career pathway I could follow.”

Rube, like so many, was pleased to hear the news that Aviation Australia (AA), one of the country’s foremost specialist aviation and aerospace training providers, partnered with CQUniversity to deliver Australia’s first aircraft maintenance engineering degree.

The course, which has been developed to address emerging aviation industry requirements, provides multiple outcomes for students seeking to gain an aircraft maintenance engineer’s licence in addition to a higher education qualification.

“Personally, the most intriguing aspect of aviation is the intricacy and interconnection of engineering modules,” he said.

“The dependency of an entire aeronautical system on each interlocked component is fascinating, and incredibly complex.

“This development and maintenance of engineered systems, and the complexity of components and materials, is the area of aviation which most interests me.”

Aviation Australia CEO Bill Horrocks said that as a global leader in aviation and aerospace training, AA had been looking ahead to develop and offer training that ensured graduates grew with the aerospace industry and embrace its dynamic evolution; partnering with CQUniversity to jointly develop a unique course that addresses the industry requirements over the coming decades.

“As an experienced aviation education provider, CQUniversity aligns with Aviation Australia’s ethos to ensure graduates are better prepared for evolving industry needs,” he said.

“CQUniversity students have access to excellent educational resources, such as simulated in live maintenance environments, providing them with practical skills and theoretical knowledge that are globally applicable and highly sought-after.

“The Bachelor of Engineering Technology (Aircraft Maintenance - Avionics) advances the aircraft maintenance vocational skills taught at Aviation Australia with an in-depth understanding of theoretical knowledge from CQUniversity.

“The embedded approved regulatory course provides an accelerated pathway for students to reach licenced aircraft maintenance engineer status in just two years, while the higher education component provides the theoretical knowledge to explore new technologies and applications.

“AA delivers approved European Union Aviation Safety Agency courses and works closely with the aviation industry, national and international regulators, educational partners and government.”

CQUniversity’s vice-chancellor, Professor Nick Klomp said that as a leading university provider of aviation education and training, CQUniversity was thrilled to be partnering with Aviation Australia to deliver this Australian- first program.

“We all know aviation graduates need a strong combination of theoretical knowledge, technical skills and hands-on experience to forge a successful career in the rapidly evolving aviation industry,” Prof Klomp said.

“With this partnership, we’ll be equipping our graduates with the best of all worlds, making them among the most employable aviation graduates in the country.”

Rube said that in rural regions such as Bundaberg, the aeronautical industry was incredibly important.

“Search and rescue, delivery, and transportation services in particular are highly prevalent, due to the distance from a major industrial city, so the training of pilots is often conducted in these regions, as there are many airstrips and facilities for storing aircraft,” he said.

“The facilities are here, the necessity is here, and so it is important that regional universities provide the required training and courses to allow for, and promote, the development of this industry.

“Without the provision of adequate courses, an increase in enrolment into the industry would be lessened, and those who do wish to enrol would be forced to move toward larger cities, reducing rural towns’ young population, diversity, and economy.”

After successfully completing their first 18 months with Aviation Australia and gaining a Diploma in Aircraft Maintenance Engineering, students will be able to articulate into the Bachelor degree with CQUniversity.

The course is designed to be flexible, allowing the student to continue study on campus (AA and CQUniversity campuses), or online while gaining valuable experience by working in the industry.

During their final year of study, students will gain a deeper understanding of aviation and aerospace technology, control systems, advanced maintenance materials, maintenance, asset management, and fast developing technologies like unmanned aerial vehicles or drones.

Successful students will also obtain a CASA certified Remote Pilot Licence and an Aeronautical Radio Operator Certificate, as well as participating in an aviation industry relevant project.

For Rube, having that on the ground experience with LifeFlight was valuable because by having a full working week worth of relevant industry experience, it removed many of the question marks surrounding which choices he wanted to make.

“I now know, essentially, exactly what a paid apprenticeship pathway would entail, and what a degree-based pathway would be like and this simplifies my choices tenfold, and provides clear answers to many of my uncertainties,” he said.

Mr Horrocks said: “The field of aviation and aerospace is rapidly growing, and education and training providers are still only scratching the surface of the future potential applications for aviation technologies.”

“Aviation Australia plans on staying ahead and leading the way forward in creating and delivering training for all aspects of the aviation and aerospace industries, including research.”