FTSA Information

The Society

The Society was founded in 1987 to support and celebrate the achievements of the Australian flight test community.

The Society holds an annual symposium that serves as a forum for Australia flight test personnel to discuss recent activities and engage in the promotion of a professional, technically advanced and safe Australian flight test community.

The Society has affiliations with SETP, SFTE and RAeS. Our membership is broad including past and present personnel from Australian military flight test organisations as well members from Australia's leading universities and aerospace companies.

Our Mission

The mission of the Society is:

  • To promote the education of Society members, of other persons directly associated with aeronautical activities, and of the general public concerning endeavours particular to the profession of flight testing. 
  • To promote the advancement of flight safety by providing a forum for expression of professional opinion on flight test activities in particular and flying operations in general.
  • To promote technical advancement by providing for professional education through lectures, displays and presentations and by the exchange of information to assist the development of improved flight test techniques. 
  • To promote sound aeronautical design and development. 
  • To broaden professional relationships among members and to maintain and increase the prestige, standing and influence of flight test personnel in aeronautical progress. 
  • To co-operate with any like associations, in particular the Society of Experimental Test Pilots and the Society of Flight Test Engineers, and other bodies as the Committee may decide. 

For more information regarding membership see our membership page or Join today.

 FTSA Committee Members 2018

President - James Hagan

James joined the Air Force in 2001 and completed Aeronautical Engineering and Technology degrees at UNSW. He then moved to Canada to complete his flying training, prior to spending 7 glorious years flying on the AP-3C Orion with both 10 and 11 Squadron. James’ interest in flight test was stoked by a posting to conduct OT&E on the AP-3C Orion. In 2012 James completed the US Naval Test Pilot School, and then a follow-on posting to the RAAF Aircraft Research and Development Unit. Upon completion of his ARDU posting, James was the T&E Manager on the P-8A Poseidon acquisition during its successful introduction to service. James first became involved in FTSA as a member during his time at ARDU, and joined the committee in 2015, and became President in 2018.


Vice President - Claude Daniel

Claude is a Test Engineer and currently the National Competency and Training Manager for Nova Systems. Claude has a Bachelor of Engineering and a Masters of Science (Flight Dynamics).


Secretary - Owen Higgins

Owen is a Fight Test Engineer and a graduate of the Empire Test Pilots School. He is currently serving at the Army Aviation test and Evaluation Section (AATES) as an FTE conducting rotary wing flight trials with the EC665A ARH Tiger and S-70A-9 Black Hawk. Previously Owen served in the Royal Australian Navy as an FTE at the Aircraft Maintenance and Flight Trails Unit (AMAFTU) and whilst at the unit undertook multiple First of Class Flight Trials with the MH-60R Seahawk. Other flight test experience include trials with MRH-90 Taipan and CH-47D Chinook.

Treasurer - Mike Hardie

 Mike is a Flight Test Engineer and a graduate of the Empire Test Pilots’ School. He has experience in maritime helicopter operations and related support activities, and has provided ship-helicopter integration support to a variety of nations. Mike has previously worked at the Royal Australian Navy’s Aircraft Maintenance and Flight Trials Unit.

Membership Officer - Benjamin Liersch

 Ben is a Flight Test Engineer and is currently serving in the Royal Australian Air Force as staff officer to the Delegate of the Safety Authority for Flight Test. Ben is a graduate of Empire Test Pilots School and was previously posted to the Aircraft Research and Development Unit working on a range of KC-30A boom aerial refuelling clearance programs including F-16C, C-17A, B-1B, A-10C and B-52H.

General Member -Guy Adams

Guy is a Flight Test Engineer and currently the Director of Unmanned Aerial Systems for the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF). Previously he was employed as a FTE with the RAAF's Aircraft Research and Development Unit (ARDU) and worked on F18 Hornet and Eurocopter Tiger flight test programs. Guy is a past President of FTSA.

Historical Officer - AVM (Retd) Robert Richardson

Bob Richardson has a broad aviation experience commencing as a fighter pilot flying the Avon Sabre in Malaysia, Singapore,  North Borneo and Thailand. After a tour as a flying instructor he completed the Empire Test Pilots' School in 1968 leading to a distinguished career as a test pilot culminating in commanding the Aircraft Research and Development Unit in 1986 and 1987. He was actively involved in the development of the RAAF's fast jet fleet including the selection of the F/A-18. Bob's final post was Deputy Chief of Air Force. He is a Fellow of the Society of Experimental Test Pilots and retired to life as a gentleman alpaca farmer.

Immediate Past President - Richard Woodward

Richard is a Qualified Test Pilot and currently an A380 captain with Qantas. Richard is a graduate of Empire Test pilots School and spent 13 years working for the Royal Australian Air Force prior to moving to Qantas as an airline pilot.