Fascinated by both the technical and operational sides of aviation, FLTLT Dawson Schuck joined in 2009 to work with new and developing technologies.
FLTLT Schuck, a Flight Test Engineer with the Aircraft Research and Development Unit (ARDU), is responsible for scoping, planning, directing, reducing data and reporting on flight test activities for the ADF.
FLTLT Schuck said the variety of work was fantastic.
“This role allows me to work on numerous different aircraft types, from the P-8A Poseidon to the F/A-18 and everything in between,” he said.
“Flight test can be challenging because we are, by definition, exploring the unknown.
“As such, sometimes things don’t go how we predict, and we need to be flexible in responding to that.
“If we’ve planned well, we expect the unexpected. The ARDU team is always doing something different – there’s never a dull moment.”
His current role involved a competitive selection process which included interviews, flying, writing and a maths assessment.
He then went onto train at the US Naval Test Pilot School at Patuxent River, Maryland, US.
“I effectively learnt how to test aircraft, alongside pilot, engineer and navigator peers,” FLTLT Schuck said.
“The course covered a mix of theoretical coursework, practical flying exercises and report writing. I was lucky to fly almost 20 different aircraft types.”
ARDU marked 75 years of continuous service on December 1 last year. Since the establishment of No. 1 Aircraft Performance Unit at RAAF Base Laverton in December 1943, ARDU has pioneered flight test in the ADF.
FLTLT Schuck said ARDU’s milestone was a proud moment for him.
“I’m proud to be part of the unit, given its enormous legacy. Throughout the years, ARDU has answered fundamental technical questions and introduced some incredible capability for the ADF, and in some cases, the world.
“Though the technology continues to evolve, our mission largely remains the same.”