AA staff & contributors


Gerard Frawley
Gerard Frawley

Gerard Frawley
Managing Editor & Publisher

Still at heart the kid who loved planes who as a 10 year kept cuttings of aviation newspaper and magazine articles in his scrapbook, Gerard still counts himself fortunate to have landed at Australian Aviation. Gerard joined Australian Aviation in 1992 as a very green cadet journalist. Over the years that followed he learned much from working with Australian Aviation‘s founder Jim Thorn and key contributors such as Stewart Wilson, Norman Lee and Mac Job.

Gerard has been Australian Aviation‘s managing editor since March 2005 after he, Lee-Anne Simm and Andrew McLaughlin had formed Phantom Media to purchase Australian Aviation from Jim Thorn. Gerard subsequently became the sole shareholder in and director of Phantom Media in mid-2012.

Gerard passed the General Flying Progress Test back in 1995 on his way to a pilot’s licence he vows to complete one day, and for many years authored the popular biennially-published International Directory of Military Aircraft and International Directory of Civil Aircraft reference books.

With the addition of Australian Defence Business Review to the Phantom Media stable in early 2011, Gerard also writes on defence industry and business issues for ADBR.

Gerard was awarded the National Aviation Press Club’s Aviation Journalist of the Year for 2007 and again for 2013, the 2013 judging panel recognising him as “one of the industry’s most prolific writers through the pages of Australian Aviation, Australian Defence Business Review and a variety of other publications including this year’s Avalon Airshow daily magazine. Under Gerard’s direction, Australian Aviation continues to set a global benchmark for a well-balanced aerospace magazine, more so under a recent revamp. Gerard’s writing, his news sense, his in-depth knowledge of the industry and his nurturing of young talent have earned him the respect of many in the aviation sector, from his colleagues and peers to industry leaders.”

A keen cyclist and a frustated piano student, Gerard lives in Canberra with his wife Kerrie and their young daughters Sophie and Audrey.

Contact Gerard


Jordan Chong
Jordan Chong

Jordan Chong
News Editor

Jordan joined Australian Aviation in July 2014 and has responsibility for daily news content on australianaviation.com.au as well as the magazine’s Preflight news section,

Previously, Jordan spent six years at Australian Associated Press, primarily as aviation reporter, but also covered media, sport and economics. He began his journalism career at online publisher Sportal and completed his traineeship at The Age newspaper.

Career highlights include working as a radio commentator at the Australian Open tennis tournament and covering the 2012 London Olympics.

On the aviation front, Jordan has covered the QF32 engine failure emergency and the annual meetings of the International Air Transport Association.





Tom Ballantyne
Tom Ballantyne

Tom Ballantyne
Senior Contributor

Chief Correspondent of the Hong Kong-published Orient Aviation magazine, Tom Ballantyne has 40 years’ experience in international journalism. Born in Edinburgh and now an Australian citizen, he has worked for newspapers in the UK and Australia as well as operating as a war correspondent in Southern Africa in the 1970s.

Tom has covered the aviation industry for the last 25 years, writing for such publications as Airline Business and Australian Aviation. He is a regular commentator on aviation issues on television and radio in Australia, Asia, the Middle East and the United Kingdom.

The author of several travel books, Tom is regularly invited to be a speaker at aviation conferences and seminars.



Geoffrey Thomas


Geoffrey Thomas
Senior Contributor

Geoffrey Thomas has been commentating on the airline industry for nearly 40 years. The aviation editor of the West Australian newspaper, editor in chief of airlineratings.com and the author of five books on the industry, Geoffrey has written for Australian Aviation since 2005.

Geoffrey first became engrossed in the industry as a young child, when his uncle who was a chief engineer with Trans Australian Airlines allowed him to scramble over DC-6Bs and Viscounts.

Some awards have come his way – he was the National Aviation Press Club’s Aviation Journalist of the Year for 2001 and 2002 (and was runner-up in 2003). More recently in 2014 Geoffrey won ‘Best Safety, Training & Simulation’ story at the global Aviation Media Awards in London for his article ‘Coming Up Short’, which was published in the March 2014 edition of Australian Aviation. The article researched, with the University of Southern California, the complex pilot cultural factors surrounding the crash of an Asiana 777 at San Francisco in 2013. The award was presented at a gala dinner at the Royal Aeronautical Society headquarters ahead of the 2014 Farnborough Airshow.

Geoffrey has also featured in a number of TV investigative documentaries and is a regular commentator on Australian TV and radio.

Owen Zupp
Owen Zupp


Owen Zupp
Senior Contributor

It’s no surprise that Owen found his way into aviation. His father had a diverse career that stretched from 201 fighter missions over Korea with the RAAF to the airlines and many and varied tasks in General Aviation. Entering the industry as a commercial pilot in 1987, Owen’s flying included charter work, flight instruction and ferry flights, spanning the Kimberleys to Micronesia.

Terms as a chief pilot, chief flying instructor and an approved test officer rounded off his time in GA before joining Ansett in 1994 as a First Officer on the 737.

Since the airline’s collapse he has flown with an international carrier and completed a Masters Degree in Aviation Management. His writings on aviation have been published both in Australia and abroad, covering subjects from the historic Southern Cross to satellite navigation.

Joining Australian Aviation in late 2005, Owen won the National Aviation Press Club’s Aviation Technical Story of the Year award in 2006 for his piece on ADS-B. His first book, Down to Earth, traces the combat experiences of a WW2 RAF pilot.

A keen cricketer and terrible golfer, Owen lives in the Southern Highlands with his wife, Kirrily and their three daughters and son.

Owen’s website: www.owenzupp.com


John Walton
John Walton

John Walton

John Walton covers the passenger experience and writes Australian Aviation’s Cabin Pressure column.

Growing up shuttling around the world on Boeing 747-100 and -200 aircraft, John remembers with fondness the days when bored pilots and cabin crew didn’t mind an inquisitive teenager hanging around in cockpits and galleys asking questions.

He’s since developed his observations into a journalistic specialty covering cabin interiors, seating, connectivity, and premium class service.

A keen analyst of how developing tools can be applied to aviation news, John is at the forefront of social media in the aviation sector, broke the 2014 hijacking of flight ET702 on Twitter (@thatjohn), and continues to work at the bleeding edge of newsmaking.

Formerly resident in New York, London, Beijing and Wellington, John started writing about the Australian market in 2011 at Australian Business Traveller, where he was formerly deputy editor.

When not at the keyboard, John lives out of a suitcase, sings tenor in choirs on four continents, and adds languages to his “I speak this enough to get by while travelling” collection. He has a weakness for the A340-600, fully flat business class seats with direct aisle access, and Champagne from the Vallée de la Marne.

John welcomes email from readers to john@walton.travel, and discussion on Twitter: he’s @thatjohn.


Tony Arbon

Tony Arbon
Civil Aircraft Register Columnist

Tony was born in England in 1949 and first became interested in aircraft while at school. He vividly remembers watching Bristol Freighters, DH Herons and DC-3s pass over the family home on approach to Bournemouth/Hurn airport during the early 1960s.

A trip to Hurn each weekend quickly became the ‘norm’ and the occasional weekday trip was not out of the question to see something interesting – playing truant from school. Local joyflights were conducted by DH Dragon Rapide and Auster aircraft and visits by modern Cessnas and Pipers were considered something special. Tony recalls seeing the last of the Vickers Viscounts being built, the first flight of the prototype BAC One-Eleven and following the progress of each One-Eleven as it progressed down the production line at British Aircraft Corporation’s facility at Hurn.

During 1974 Tony emigrated to Australia and immediately became interested in the local aviation scene. Visits to New Zealand, Fiji and Papua New Guinea during the late 1970s and early ’80s broadened his interest in this region and Australia, New Zealand, PNG and the Pacific Islands remain the focal point of his aviation interest. He began taking aircraft photos during 1975 and obtained a Civil Aircraft Register from the Department of Transport in order to catalogue his collection. He quickly found that this Register did not contain the depth of information that he needed and began adding notes and putting together histories of types and individual aircraft.

Tony says that his enthusiasm “sort of got out of control” and now boasts one of the largest collections of aircraft slides, books and magazines in the country. He also holds historical records of every aircraft ever registered in Australia, New Zealand, Papua New Guinea and most of the Pacific Islands. Tony joined the Australian Aviation team in September 1985 when he began writing a regular feature covering changes to the Australian Civil Aircraft Register and managed to turn, what could have been a rather dry subject, into an interesting and informative article.1991 saw the first Australian Aviation Civil Aircraft Register published and who better qualified to edit the Register than Tony.

After 15 years of continuous publication of the Civil Aircraft Register technology has finally taken over and the Register is no longer available in book form form but can be found on the CASA website. Tony is a member of the local Aero Club, Air Britain, the Aviation Historical Society of Australia and the Aviation Historical Society of New Zealand.

He retired from Airservices Australia in 2000 after 22 years as a Flight Service Officer in Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane.

Contact Tony


Dave Prossor

Dave Prossor
Warbirds and Right Hand Seat columnist

David started his aviation writing career back in the early 1960s, initially with material for aviation enthusiast newsletters. His first commercial aviation article appeared in 1968.

Since that time he has written numerous articles for local and overseas magazines and publications. He has also contributed material to several aviation books and video productions.David commenced writing the Warbirds column in 1983 and continues to do so today. The main theme of the column has always been to run news items covering the Australian warbird, antique and classic aeroplane scene as well as the local aviation museums.

With a keen interest in antique aircraft, and long before they featured in mainstream media, David became the founding editor and writer of Rag & Tube, the magazine of the Antique Aeroplane Association of Australia. In 2000 David launched a new column in Australian Aviation, From The Right Seat. That column deals with flight instructional issues and all that goes on around them. The column came as a natural carryover from his flight instructor work. In addition to his writing activities David is a knowledgeable and experienced airshow announcer. In his capacity as an airshow announcer he has covered many airshows in Victoria, NSW and even overseas.

With so much interest in aviation it was only natural that David would want to fly. He commenced flying in 1964 and over the years, first as a private pilot and later as a commercial pilot, he has enjoyed logging many thousands of hours flying across Australia in antiques, taildraggers and floatplanes, as well as charter flying, flying instruction, hopping skydivers and towing sailplanes and even advertising banners. He was a sailplane tow pilot at the World Gliding Championships held in Australia in 1974 and again in 1987.

In the late 1990s he did some commercial floatplane flying and developed a love for that sector of aviation. These days David is a professional Grade 1 Flight Instructor based at Melbourne’s Moorabbin Airport. He especially enjoys teaching the special skill of learning how to fly a tailwheel aircraft.

David enjoys nothing more than flying to some new airport, hopefully in an interesting taildragger, and to land on a grass airstrip. Of the 95 plus types that he has flown more than 25 have been tailwheel/tailskid types.

David has previously worked in the administration side of the then Department of Civil Aviation (Airworthiness & Air Safety Branches, Head Office, Melbourne). David also worked with Melbourne based Schutt Aviation in the heady days of the General Aviation boom in the late 1970s, in new aircraft certification and later as Manager, Spare Parts. His favourite aircraft to fly: Biplane – the Tiger Moth; Low wing – IMCO Callair A-9A; high wing – Cessna 185 (so versatile!). His favourite aviation writers: Ernest K Gann, Budd Davisson, Stephen Coonts and Don Downie.

And of the future? More interesting writing for both the Warbirds and Right Seat columns. More feature articles and perhaps even a book. Continued instructing in order to pass on a wealth of experience and knowledge plus, hopefully, some more floatplane flying. If any time is left over he is using that to restore a 1917 Sturtevant 5A watercooled V8 aero engine that he acquired some years ago. Anyone have an interest in Sturtevant aircraft and aero engines? If so contact Dave.


Gordon Reid

Gordon Reid
Traffic Columnist

Gordon developed an interest in aviation in late 1953 at Prestwick Airport, Scotland while still at school. The following year he purchased his first camera, which took black and white photos. He started taking colour slides in 1962 and colour prints in 2000, and this has led to a collection of 80,000 black and white negatives and 15,000 slides.

From August 1954 Gordon started recording the details of all the aircraft he sighted and has maintained a daily diary ever since. This later expanded to record all interesting aircraft visiting our region whether personally sighted or not.

He has been a member of Air Britain (International Association of Aircraft Historians) since 1960. Initially employed by Clydesdale & North of Scotland Bank from 1958 until 1962, he moved from Glasgow to London in late 1962 to join British European Airways at London/Heathrow where he worked in the Flight Operations Department. In April 1965 he emigrated to Melbourne and the same month joined Trans Australia Airlines.

He was employed by TAA/Australian/Qantas from 1965 until November 1993 when he took an early retirement package. From late 1969 until retirement Gordon worked in the Operations Control Department where he was latterly a Duty Control Manager.

August 1966 saw Gordon’s first visit to the United States on aviation related matters and has since then he has returned on 27 occasions. Since retirement his annual visits to the United States generally includes a week at EAA AirVenture at Oshkosh, Wisconsin followed by three weeks touring round airfields in different parts of the country. From late 1965 until late 1973 Gordon edited the Essendon Newsletter, a magazine directed at aviation enthusiasts. Between 1976 and 1983 he wrote a series of monthly articles in the TAA Aircrew Bulletin with the main subject being the history of individual aircraft previously operated by TAA.

Gordon first started writing for Australian Aviation in September 1983 and in September 1985 wrote his first Traffic column. Gordon maintains an extensive library of aviation books (hundreds) and magazines (thousands).

Contact Gordon


Bruce McLaughlin
Bruce McLaughlin

Bruce Mclaughlin
Proof Reader

Shortly after Gerard and his then partners in Phantom Media (including son Andrew) took over Australian Aviation in 2005, Bruce volunteered his services as a proof reader – “another pair of eyes”, as he put it.

Bruce came from the background of a senior public servant and then stints in wine growing and making (and consumption!), and in fishing tackle retail.

By mid-2014 he had been involved with over 100 issues of AA, and with the addition to Phantom’s stable in early 2011 of Australian Defence Business Review, he took up a proof reading role there as well.

Bruce doesn’t regard himself as a professional proof reader, but his experience, interest in aviation, eye for detail and passion for accuracy contribute to the very high standards we aim for.