General Manager, Alice Springs and Tennant Creek Airports
Northern Territory Airports Pty Ltd
David has over 35 years’ experience in the realms of Defence and Civil aviation. Prior to taking up his current appointment as General Manager Alice Springs and Tennant Creek Airports, David was General Manager Aviation Operations at Townsville, Mt Isa, and Longreach Airports.
Armed with a Graduate Certificate in Business Administration and a Bachelor of Aviation, David holds professional memberships with the likes of The Royal Aeronautical Society, The International Society of Air Safety Investigators, and The Safety Institute of Australia. David is also a RAAF Squadron Leader Aeronautical Engineer Reserve member and has over 6,000 flying hours experience as a Flight Engineer.
How long have you been a member of Engineers Australia?
I have been a member of Engineers Australia for 13 years.
Why did you pursue a career in engineering?
I had a passion for aviation from a very young age, and a strong desire to understand how anything heavier than air could actually fly.
How can Australian communities/people/society benefit from your work now and in the future?
I am thrilled to be involved in renewable energy projects that are a part of Airport operations. Many of these initiatives are groundbreaking and are firsts for Australian Airports, and it’s exciting as well as rewarding to be a part of such schemes.
What is the most challenging or interesting project you’ve ever worked on?
As far as challenging or interesting projects go, three spring to mind. Firstly, we were the first airport in Australia to construct an undercover solar car park; Secondly, we are now able to produce over 100% of daily energy requirements through solar generation; and finally, we were the first airport to hold a formal dinner on an active runway.
What do you see as one of the biggest issues facing the engineering profession?
The challenge for the engineering profession is the future commercial and budget limitations of clients which restricts truly unique and ground-breaking engineering solutions. It is increasingly challenging for engineers to devise technical solutions for clients and then deliver those solutions with predictable safety, performance, cost and timescale.
What excites you about the future of the profession or what opportunities do you see for the future?
What excites me is the question: What will technology bring in the future, and how do we strategically prepare for it? For example, will we even need airport runways in 50 years’ time? If that’s the direction we’re heading in, what should we be thinking about today?
Who is your engineering hero?
Chuck Yeager is my engineering hero as the first man to break the speed of sound in an experimental aircraft. As a US Air Force test pilot, Chuck Yeager won a permanent place in the history of aviation for breaking the speed of sound in the Bell X-1 rocket engine powered aircraft in 1947 as part of the National Committee for Aeronautics Supersonic Research Project.
Image: courtesy of Dave Batic