Jim Eaglen joined the RAAF in 1980 after leaving school.
His good mate at school Greg Hewson, is responsible for Eaglen getting into aviation, as Hewson convinced Eaglen to join the RAAF alongside him. Eaglen says, “I spent seventeen years in the RAAF, undertaking flying training on the CT4A and Macchi, then operationally flying Mirages, Tornado F3 (on exchange with the RAF), and F/A-18 Hornet. I have been very lucky in my flying career, with many opportunities just presenting themselves along the way”.
Eaglen also spent time on the Hawk and Hornet programs. In flying such high performance military jets, Jim was involved in exercises where he recalls, “I was fighting all the major combat aircraft of the era, both Western and Eastern Bloc. I was also lucky enough to go for rides in most of these aircraft, normally during simulated combat missions”.
After leaving the military flying, Eaglen joined Qantas where he has flown the Boeing 767, Airbus A330 and A380 (as an instructor pilot) and the Boeing 787 Dreamliner (again as an instructor pilot) He says, “Egon got me interested in the Yak-52 and the people that love these aircraft”. Eaglen found that the Yak was a great aircraft with a reliable engine, had fighter-like handling, great sound and is relatively cheap to run. Having had a passion for warbirds, Eaglen with his mate Greg Hewson bought their own Nanchang "Maid in China" and Jim flies as the lead of the Chang section.