John Milton ( - )

click here for Melbourne Flight Serrvice Centre 1976

This biography of John Milton is adapted from an article written by Vicki Huggins for the Melbourne Centre Staff Newsletter Flying Forward on the occasion of John's retirement from Airservices Australia in 2006.

Left: John Milton in 1976 (click on the image for a wider view).

(Photo: CAHS collection)

John (JJ) Milton began working life in his native UK in the Merchant Navy, initially as a cadet officer and later as a Junior Navigating Officer. Early aspirations were to become a Master Mariner and eventually, a Ship's Captain - other events were to intervene. Australia beckoned, and the then Second Mate set sail on a wonderful journey with the Department of Civil Aviation.

He joined Flight Service Officer Course 28 on 3 May 1973 at Reliance House in Flinders Lane, in the City. Colleagues on earlier courses at the location had to run the gauntlet through Vietnam War protestors as the building also housed the Defence Forces Recruitment Centre. John's memory is rich about his time in the College and the six months of field training that took him from Wynyard and Hobart in Tasmania, north to Mildura and to Moorabbin, Essendon and Melbourne Airports.

From mid 1974, he worked at the Melbourne Flight Service Centre until joining Central Training College, Henty House, as an instructor, but by 1980 he really got into the swing of life in this big brown land when he transferred to Port Hedland Flight Service. The western post also first introduced him to a supervisory role which he had confirmed when he returned to the College in 1982 for a further stint as an instructor.

John was on the road again in the mid 80's when he worked in Adelaide before returning to Melbourne in 1987 and the Victoria/Tasmania Regional Office as FS Superintendent Standardisation and Licensing. His days at the console were over: for the next nearly 20 years he held a number of management roles. His management time has included Flight Service Manager for Melbourne, Adelaide and Perth and Melbourne ATC En route Manager during the transitioning of the last of the AUSCATS sectors into TAAATS.

He spent a very enjoyable six months leading Airservices College before moving into ATM project management in 2002. On departure, John reminisced about his career and in particular the past several years spent working on the future of airspace management, the Flexible Use of Airspace project. Although disappointed at the recent rate of progress, he believes Airservices, Defence and the airlines are well positioned to work together to process FUA initiatives. "During my 33 year career in Aviation I have been very fortunate that about every 6 or 7 years I found myself in a new or different role in the organisation. It kept my working life fresh and rewarding and presented many different challenges.

"I am grateful for the support that Airservices provided during my tertiary education. The various corporate reorganisations became a fertile ground for many business management case studies in managing people and change. I believe I was able to put my theoretical education into good use as I worked with my staff to facilitate change," John said.



John also took a great deal of pride, when walking into the Melbourne or Brisbane Operations Rooms, to see a number of former young trainees or former Flight Service staff who later held positions of leadership and responsibility.

On his retirement from Airservices Australia in July 2006 John had no real complaints. "My work was not always easy or nice but in the world of Air Traffic Services I was able to achieve the aviation equivalent of my earliest career aspirations and challenges. I do leave with mixed emotions. Airservices and its predecessors has been a wonderful employer and it has provided me with a great career, many exciting and rewarding challenges and loads of fun along the way. But I do have concerns for the welfare of the organisation in the current restructure, particularly for the people within it" he said.

Since retirement from Airserivices, John Milton has been involved in a number of projects with The Ambidji Group, consultants in the aviation industry.


Left: John Milton on the occasion of his retirement.

(Photo: Vicki Huggins)

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