Brian Wise PSM (1935 - 2016)

Brian Wise PSM, photographed in September 2005

(Photo: Phil Vabre/CAHS Collection)



Born in Mount Morgan, Queensland, Brian Wise joined DCA in Brisbane as a Radio Trainee in January 1952 and after successfully completing a 5 year course was promoted to Supervising Radio Technician in charge of Radio Maintenance at Charleville Airport in western Queensland in 1957. In 1961 Brian transferred back to Brisbane Radio Maintenance in charge of Navigational Aids and the remote communications sites. In June 1961 Brian joined the DCA Flying Unit based at Essendon Airport and spent the next 31 years engaged in Flight Testing the Department's airways facilities in a variety of aircraft including the DC-3, F.27, F.28 and HS125.

In 1973 Brian was promoted to be the Chief Flight Surveyor in the Flying Unit and was involved in the following projects over the years:

  • Specification, development, construction, installation and testing of Flight Inspection systems and consoles for the F28 aircraft.
  • Liaising with RAAF Aircraft Research and Development Unit (ARDU) for the takeover of Military Flight Testing, including the development of flight test procedures, and specification and installation of aeronautical systems designed to flight test military installations at the various bases and naval ships.
  • Liaising with the New Zealand Flying Unit for the takeover of their civil and military flight testing in New Zealand and Pacific Island Bases.
  • As a member of the Yates Committee inspected the USA, Canadian, Swedish, Dutch, French and English Flying Units in order to ensure that our Flying Unit was following world best practice.
  • 1989-91 in charge of Operational Planning, involving Flight Survey, scheduling of Pilot Training and liaising with the VIP Squadron on VIP Flying using departmental aircraft.

Brian Wise was awarded the Public Service Medal (PSM) in 1991 for services to aviation. He retired in September 1992 after 41 years in civil aviation and flying over 8,000 hours in various Departmental aircraft.

Brian's involvement with the Civil Aviation Historical Society began when he gave a talk to the Society in October 1993, and also presented the Society with a short history of the Flying Unit from post-war to 1992. Brian later joined the volunteers at the Building 44 Airways Museum and was involved in assisting other volunteers in the following projects:

  • setting up the following sections of the museum
    • HF Transmitters and Receivers equipment and racks
    • Aeradio, ATC and Tower Consoles and Radar displays
    • Equipment Room
    • Navigational Aids
    • Flying Unit Consoles, Rack, and Tracking System
    • technical library and film library
  • purchase of computer systems, digital cameras and scanners
  • arranging a website for the society

As Secretary of the Civil Aviation Historical Society until 2016, Brian was involved in the day to day administration of the Society and was very keen to see the Society's archives and collections listed on our website and hopefully used for research by aviation enthusiasts.

Brian Wise passed away on Friday 9 September 2016.


Above: Brian Wise photographed at Essendon Airport in 1992 at the time of the award of the PSM.

(Photo: Brian Wise collection)


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