Monday, August 2, 2010

Terry van Haren Became only 2nd RAAF Pilot to Achieve 3000 Hours Flying F/A-18 During Exercise Pitch Black 2010

During a mission on Exercise Pitch Black 2010, Commanding Officer No. 3 Squadron, Wing Commander Terry van Haren became only the second Royal Australian Air Force pilot to achieve 3000 hours flying the F/A-18.

Officer Commanding No. 81 Wing, Group Captain Gavin Turnbull and 3SQN aircrew gathered at the Ordnance Loading Area at RAAF Base Darwin to congratulate Wing Commander van Haren after his successful sortie.

Commander Air Combat Group, Air Commodore Mel Hupfeld was the first to achieve the rare milestone and recalled the time when he first flew with a young Flying Officer van Haren.

"Today we celebrate this significant and important milestone," Air Commodore Hupfeld said.

"This is a spectacular achievement and I congratulate you. We may not see this achievement in the future as we move to more simulation training, which makes this milestone even more special.

"Achieving 3000 hours doesn't come without a lot of effort, though. There has been a lot of quality and significant input from across Air Force over the years that have contributed to this achievement. It is not only just the green suiters who have contributed, but also the maintenance workforce, to generate 3000 hours of flying capability," he said.

"Three thousand hours of flying the Hornet equates to 575,000 man hours, $186 million flying and 20 million litres of fuel. It is also the same number of total hours 3SQN flies in one year."

Wing Commander van Haren said the achievement was the result of a full squadron effort.

"I appreciate the effort from the whole squadron and have enjoyed flying with every pilot at the unit," he said.

Wing Commander van Haren joined the Air Force as a direct entry pilot in February 1986 and graduated from No. 140 pilots' course in 1987.

After being awarded his wings at 2 Flying Training School, he was posted to 38SQN where he flew Caribous for more than three years.

He completed Hornet operational conversion in 1993 and was posted to 3SQN, followed by a tour at 75SQN. In 1997, Wing Commander van Haren completed Fighter Combat Instructor (FCI) course, instructed at 2 Operational Conversion Unit and was subsequently appointed FCI of 77SQN.

In 2003, he was appointed Executive Officer of 75SQN. He led 75SQN operations during Operation Falconer and was awarded a Distinguished Service Medal for his "exceptional leadership in warlike operations."

During more than 20 years of flying in the Air Force, he has accumulated more than 5500 flying hours, 3500 of those hours on fast-jets.

"Every hour has been enjoyable," Wing Commander van Haren said. "Every hour has been great, but you are only as good as your last. I'm now looking forward to flying that next hour."

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