Jaspers Friends

Awesome Air Force people

Being in the Air Force isn’t all about flying jets (although there is a lot of that!). Some of Jasper’s friends do other amazing things from bomb disposal to dog training. Here are Amy, Joshua, Steve, Alice, Bethany and Tara to tell you what they do in the Air Force.

Leading Aircraftwoman Amy Newbury 

Avionics Technician

Born in: Adelaide, South Australia

Air Force mission: I check and fix the planes to make sure that they are mission ready.

Fun fact: Amy was a professional figure skater and now coaches kids, teaching them figure skating in her spare time.

Amy’s advice: I loved Robotics at school – it is amazing to make something do the things you are programming it to do. In Defence, I essentially fix big robots. STEM helps me in lots of different areas of my life. Figure skating is all physics, it’s all about aerodynamics. You create lots of shapes on the ice using geometry and when you jump, you land with seven times your body weight on your knees so you have to make sure that your body is positioned correctly so you don’t hurt yourself

Pilot Officer Joshua Smits 

Air Battle Manager in Training 

Born in: Sunshine Coast, Queensland

Air Force mission: From the back of the aircraft, we are responsible for controlling the air battle. For example, we get jets to fight each other in the air, communicate with jets to come in to refuel from tankers and direct them to targets to drop munitions.

Joshua’s advice: Start early if you are looking for a career in aviation. Begin in Year 6 or 7 to get the foundations to take you where you want to be. A lot of people will tell you that you won’t be able to achieve your dreams.

Warrant Officer Steve Weaver 

Physical Training Instructor 

Born in: Gundagai, New South Wales

Air Force mission: I help people get fit and stay fit so they are healthy and can enjoy their time in the Air Force.

Steve’s advice: I loved team sports at school. I didn’t know it at the time but sport helped me to be a better teammate, communicator and leader. Physical training is all about the science of knowing how the body works, what makes us weak and what makes us strong. It’s also about engineering, how to lift heavy things using only your body and the physics of knowing how to run, jump and climb without hurting yourself. 

Flying Officer Alice McCabe 

Pilot with 32 Squadron 

Born in: Brisbane, Queensland

Air Force mission: I pilot the King Air so that Air Force and Navy officers from the Air Mission Training School are able to gain experience in the air. I also fly all over Australia and overseas to get people and cargo to where they need to be.

Alice’s advice: Maths was my favourite subject at school because there is always a definite answer, but I knew I didn’t want an office job where you’re doing the same thing every day. Flying is exciting, I love my job. The day feels so short when you’re doing what you love. My advice is even if you don’t think you are good at a subject, keep at it and work hard when studying STEM subjects - it gives you endless opportunities.

Leading Aircraftwoman Bethany Magner 

Aircraft Armament Technician - Explosives Ordnance Disposal

Born in: Canberra, Australian Capital Territory

Air Force mission: We build and test weapons on aircraft such as bombs, missiles and bullets. I work with some awesome planes including the F/A-18F Super Hornet. In my squadron, we work as a team to dispose of weapons and make places safe for people.

Bethany’s advice: I knew I wanted to work with my hands - I liked fixing things that were broken or pulling things apart to see how they worked. All my interests came together in what I do now. Do your research into what you are passionate about, get exposure to different sorts of jobs and see what there is out there. Be determined. For me, every time I hear ‘you can’t’ or ‘you shouldn’t’, I just run straight through it to get to my goal. 

Leading Aircraftwoman Tara Quinn 

Military Working Dog Handler 

Born in: Peterborough, England

Air Force mission: I train dogs for attack and intruder detection to ensure that our airbases and aircraft in Australia are kept safe. We also guard the planes that our Prime Minister travels on. My dog is called Irma and we are a great team.

Tara’s advice: Thinking outside the box is how we are getting to that next generation of the military. Even though I am in the armed forces, my personality allows me to shine. My quirkiness helps me be more effective in my job. Life is always changing and I always get to show a little bit of me. Even though it is tough sometimes, I know my job is making a difference and it is worth it.

See these awesome people in the Jasper magazine