Editorial Team



Kreisha Ballantyne

New South Wales  |  kreisha.ballantyne@aopa.com.au  |  (02) 9791 9099

Kreisha’s experience across various sectors of the aviation industry reflect her passion for general aviation.  In previous editorial roles at AOPA Australian Pilot, Sport Pilot and AirSport, Kreisha has had the privilege of flying in – and writing about -a multitude of aircraft types, from a powered parachute to a PC12. Kreisha is currently a feature writer for Australian Flying magazine, as well as CASA’s Flight Safety Australia.  As a private pilot, Kreisha has experienced an incredible array of aviation adventures, including flying solo across Australia in heels and lipstick to influence young female pilots; wing-walking on a vintage Stearman; flying in New Zealand, the UK, the USA and Austria; and interviewing a diverse and incredible cross-section of aviators.  Now in her tenth year in the industry, she is delighted to continue her passion for writing about aviation as one of AOPA’s new digital editors.

Nicholas Christie

Victoria  |  nicholas.christie@aopa.com.au  |  (02) 9791 9099

Nicholas started flying lessons at the age of 13. He holds both Grade 2 (GA) and RAAus Flight Instructor ratings.  Since graduating from Monash University with a Bachelor Business Management (Marketing), he has held various sales, marketing and management positions across a broad range of sectors. Nicholas has written for a variety of aviation magazines in Australia and currently runs his own aviation businesses.  In 2016, Nicholas took on the challenge of building a “slow build” Van’s RV-12, at Tyabb (Victoria) and he has since become an active member of SAAA, AOPA and RAAus.  Nicholas believes that the passion and involvement of people (especially youth) in the aviation community is key to the sector’s future success in Australia and that minimal government regulation will assist in the industry’s continued growth and success.

Stuart Hills 

Victoria  |  stuart.hills@aopa.com.au  |  (02) 9791 9099

Stuart gained his commercial pilots’ licence in 1992 and has flown in a variety of positions since that time.
Most notably however is his commitment and unremitting work in the business development and marketing of aerospace and aviation organisations since 2002. Stuarts roles have been within companies specialising in aerospace distribution, aerospace surface treatments, structural adhesives, maintenance and repair and avionics.

Tony Power

South Australia  |  tony.power@aopa.com.au  |  (02) 9791 9099

Tony holds a fixed wing CPL and has around 350 hours flying time.  He was fortunate enough to do his instrument rating in the Beechcraft Baron, an aircraft he absolutely fell in love with. After completing his flight training Tony worked as a shark patrol pilot, flying at 500 feet along the coasts of South Australia in a Cessna 172 looking for sharks, and has coordinated flight operations and maintenance for the Uni SA Aviation Academy at Parafield Airport.  He has also worked for Jetstar in fleet operations, analysing safety reports and performing risk assessments of safety incidents.  More recently he has done research into the safety culture of general and recreational aviation in Australia.  This research involved speaking to GA and RA pilots all over Australia.   Tony is currently pursuing aPhD at Swinburne University of Technology in Melbourne, exploring the opportunities and challenges for the aviation industry in utilising new technology such as virtual reality and artificial intelligence to improve flight training.  He has a keen interest in general aviation, particularly issues of safety, regulation, and flight training.  Above all though, Tony loves the experience and freedom of jumping in an aeroplane and taking flight among the clouds.

Chris Smyth

New South Wales  |  chris.smyth@aopa.com.au  |  (02) 9791 9099

Chris is an experienced media professional and is passionate about aviation, digital-media and technology. Chris produced the ABC Insiders and Chaser programs and was part of the team that developed the ABC’s first iView service. He went on to become ABC Director, Northern Territory. Recently, Chris founded tech start-up Inflighto.com which develops innovative moving-map apps for airline passengers. Chris is a published author and a member of the Australian Writers’ Guild.  Chris achieved his GA Private Pilot’s licence in 2006 and has flown extensively throughout NSW, the NT and WA. He is endorsed on the Cessna 172, 182 and the Cirrus SR20. Chris is currently studying for his CPL – interrupted temporarily by the arrival of his two children. Chris is enthusiastic about reinvigorating GA through the application of innovative technology and appropriate government policy settings.  Chris was introduced to flying by his grandfathers; one of whom was an aviation journalist and war correspondent; the other a WWII RAAF wing commander. Big shoes to fill! Follow Chris on Twitter @christoflight.

David Pilkington

Victoria  |  david.pilkington@aopa.com.au  |  (02) 9791 9099

David J Pilkington started flying in 1966 and commenced aerobatics a few years later. He specialises in tail-wheel and aerobatic instruction and is a Flight Examiner for spin and aerobatic instructors.  He was twice Australian Advanced Aerobatic Champion and was leader of a formation aerobatic team flying Pitts Specials.  Over the years he has owned a variety of aerobatic aircraft including an Airtourer, Decathlon, Laser and Pitts S-2A. The Laser was built by David and two friends. He currently owns a Pitts S-2C (shared with two friends) as well as a Super Decathlon which is used for training.  David has been a flight instructor since 1995 and prior to that was approved to teach advanced aerobatics and test for low level aerobatic approvals.  In 2011, David was awarded the Paul Tissandier Diploma by the FAI for his services to sport aerobatics over many years.  David has a Bachelor of Aeronautical Engineering from RMIT and a Master of Science from Cranfield University in the UK. His early career was in aircraft aerodynamic design, flight & wind tunnel testing, flight performance, handling qualities and flight loads including work with the NASA Spin Research Center.  He was Vice President, Engineering and Test Pilot at Aviat Aircraft, Inc (USA) in the mid-nineties working on the Husky and Pitts designs. Later Chief Engineer – Air Vehicles at ASTA Components (Boeing Australia) prior to joining GKN Aerospace Engineering Services in 2001 where he worked on projects such as the F-35.

Michelle Packwood

New South Wales  |  michelle.packwood@aopa.com.au  |  (02) 9791 9099

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