Tim Graham–Master of Aviation graduate

Master of Aviation with Honours
Graduated in 2011

Remotely Piloted Aircraft Systems Research and Analysis Officer – Australian Civil Aviation Safety Authority, Canberra

"I love all things transport—trucks, cars, trains, ships but most importantly aviation. The drawcard is the technical and social complexity of aviation.

Massey’s School of Engineering and the mechatronics major drew me to the university. I did the typical change after my first year from a programme that didn’t really suit me to one that came more naturally. I was exposed to the School of Aviation while doing engineering.

I always knew I wanted to be involved in aviation, but not as a traditional pilot. I saw the Bachelor of Aviation Management as something different.

I decided to continue on to a master’s degree as the effects of the Global Financial Crisis were starting to take hold and I felt to make it in the “new world” I needed something more than an undergraduate degree. With ever-increasing education inflation, a master’s degree would help me stand out from the crowd and give me a longer-term investment in myself. Plus, I enjoyed the student lifestyle so much I wanted to stay a student as long as fiscally possible.

I am very grateful to the Chief Flight Instructor for taking a gamble on me to become an operations assistant at Milson Flight Systems Centre in Palmerston North. The work experience from my time in the hanger and on the apron made a vast difference to my future employment prospects.

I started at the Civil Aviation Safety Authority in Canberra as a Research and Analysis Officer in the flight operations and licencing branch. I then moved to the future technology and regulatory trends branch and became involved in developing regulations for remotely piloted aircraft systems and rockets. Remotely piloted aircraft systems are also known as unmanned aerial vehicles or drones. This was my first hands-on role with policy development.

New regulations that come into effect in September 2016 are more than two years of effort. I enjoy the development of aviation safety policy; it is one way I can directly contribute to the safety of the aviation industry.

I now hold a Controllers Certificate (soon to be remote pilot licence) and an Aeronautical Radio Operators Certificate. I am an associate member of the London-based Royal Aeronautical Society and the Secretariat for the Australian Unmanned Aircraft Standards Sub-committee, an industry-regulator forum.

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