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Michael trained and qualified for an australian commercial pilot licence at Archerfield Aerodrome Brisbane in 1981. He flew Cessna floatplanes and amphibians from Hollywell Harbour Gold Coast and a Beechcraft on aerial mapping and survey from Archerfield Aerodrome, Brisbane. He also flew charter operations from Coolangatta Aerodrome, Queensland.
After a number of years flying in general aviation, Michael started air traffic control training in the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF). He served at the Amberley Air Force Base Queensland and Darwin International Airport, providing aerodrome and approach RADAR control services, training and supervisory duties. He also held other roles such as flying safety officer and president of a flying club. Michael qualified as an ATC instructor and completed a posting at the School of Air Traffic Control in Sale, Victoria, where he was responsible for examinations, theory and instructor training.
After serving 12 years with RAAF, Michael joined Airservices Australia. He worked in various roles such as ATC support specialist in competency and curriculum design, ATC instructor in safety management education and then operational safety and quality specialist in the Melbourne ATC centre.
Michael has vocational qualifications and experience in ISO quality assurance auditing, incident investigation, safety case assessment, project management and the International Civil Aviation Organisation's instructional systems design methodology. His practical experience is underpinned by formal qualifications - a Master of Science and Technology in Aviation from the University of New South Wales and a Bachelor of Aviation from the University of Western Sydney. Career highlights include establishing national competency standards for ATC training in Australia and developing an ICAO standard training package for international use in incident investigation.