Al Pickering is yet another story of early aviation passion.
Student licence at 16 years of age, private licence at 17, then RAAF training at 19 on the CT4A and the Macchi Mb326h.
Graduating to fly UH-1H “Huey” helicopters Al completed operational tours in Papua New Guinea, Indonesia and Egypt and also qualified as a Gunship Captain,
After flying “choppers” Al then moved on to become a Qualified Flying Instructor on CT4A trainers at RAAF No.1 Flying Training school Cook. Al is also a Grade 2 qualified civil flying instructor. During his three years stationed at Point Cook Al participated and won the Southern Cross Air Race on behalf of RAAF.
Leaving the RAAF in 1985 Al moved into general aviation, flying light single twin engine aircraft on charter work and spent some time contracting his fixed wing and rotary wing skillS to the National Safety council, doing rescue and fire bombing work and general transport.
The airlines were hiring in 1986 and Al secured a position with Trans Australia Airlines to fly the Boeing 737. But legal takeover issues interrupted that path and Al went to North Queensland to operate the Nomad N24 and Cessna 404 employed with Air Queensland (formally Bush Pilot Airways),flying single pilot airline operations around Far North Queensland, and lazy afternoons flying tourists along the Great Barrier Reef.
Eventually Al went onto the Boeing 737 under the new livery of Australian Airlines and he flew the 300,400 and 800 variant of that type with 17 years under his belt.
More airline takeovers saw Al become a Qantas Pilot where he has operated the A330 from the Captains seat for the last 14 years.
So 45 years of aviation experience and qualifications hides under his belt, 31 years flying heavy metal and now, thanks to the never ending passion for flight and salesmanship of Egon Mahr, 6 years experience in the mighty Yakovlev 52, of which he is a part owner of two examples.