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In a pioneering career in aviation, Airbus qualified flight instructor (QFI) Matt Barker has become the first pilot in the world to achieve 1,000 flight hours on both the ARH Tiger and NH90 (known as the MRH Taipan in Australia).
The milestone was reached while Barker was supporting the Australian Defence Force on a MRH Taipan training exercise at the Shoalwater Bay Training Area in central Queensland. Barker’s 1,000 flight hours in the MRH followed his earlier achievement of 1,000 flight hours in the ARH Tiger.
Barker is an Airbus MRH90 Taipan qualified flying instructor (QFI) at the Army Aviation Training Centre, Oakey, in Australia.
Barker started his flying career when he enlisted in the Australian Army as a specialist service officer pilot in October 1987. He was the lead military instructor during the Australian Army’s introduction into service of the ARH Tiger, working side by side with Airbus in Marignane from 2004 to 2005. He transitioned from the Army to Airbus in 2013 after 26 years of service with the Australian Defence Force and continued his role as an ARH Tiger QFI with a transition onto MRH90 in 2014.
In speaking of the achievement, Deanne Barnett, vice president of governmental helicopters Australia Pacific, Airbus, said, “Matt has been an integral and important instructor and mentor for Army’s next generation of MRH Taipan pilots.
“Following a highly regarded career with the Australian Defence Force, Airbus proudly brought Matt into the company so he could continue teaching the country’s future helicopter pilots. He is an important member of the Airbus family and continues to offer insights and advice to his fellow Airbus pilots and to the future operational possibilities for MRH-90,” added Barnett.
Asked what motivates him to keep flying, Barker responded, “I enjoy teaching and passing on the lessons I’ve learnt, and I enjoy being part of the Army flying system. If I could pass on one piece of advice for the young aircrew it would be to make sure you keep having fun.”
More than half of Barker’s 8,150 hours of flying experience have been achieved on Airbus helicopters with 2,275 hours on the AS350 Squirrel in addition to his 1,000 hours on both the MRH Taipan and ARH Tiger.