By Kath Gannaway
Coldstream flying instructor Dick Gower has been recognised for his dedication to the service of aviation.
Chief flying instructor with Coldstream Airport, Mr Gower received The Royal Aeronautical Society and Australian Flying Col Pay Award on 20 October as part of the 2017 Wings Awards.
Mr Gower has been at Coldstream Airport since 1974 when, he says, he went to the Boundary Road airport to get some flying hours up.
“I ended up staying around for more than 40 years,” he said.
Over the past 58 years, Mr Gower has served the general aviation community in many roles.
Mr Gower was nominated by colleagues and peers in aviation through The Coldstream Flyers Club.
The award was presented by David Pilkington, president of the RAS, and his citation recognised not only a passion for flying and aircraft, but a dedicated and professional commitment to teaching others and sharing his knowledge.
It said that as a flying instructor and engineering exponent, Mr Gower has nurtured and advised countless flying careers.
“A world-recognised expert in the De Havilland Chipmunk, Dick has lent his expertise to many people, while simultaneously instructing at Royal Victorian Aero Club, supporting many air shows across Australia, serving on the Victorian Regional Airspace Procedures Advisory Committee (RAPAC), writing safety-related articles for several Australia aviation magazines and getting himself involved in issues concerning aviation to a very deep level,” it said.
It recognised his roles as an Approved Testing Officer/Flight Examiner, past president of the Antique Aeroplane Association of Australia and a member of the Honourable Company of Air Pilots Australia.
He has also served on CASA technical committees and established a consulting company, Australia-Pacific Aviation Services.
Mr Gower said his interest in flying started as a child, and sparked a lifelong interest in flying.
He said one of the things that kept him passionate is that things are constantly changing, and the passion he sees in young people.
“Some of the young people are awesome. They have huge computer skills that my generation didn’t grow up with and that’s a big difference.
“You never stop learning,” he said.