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Board Appointments

Updated: Feb 20

1. Following a decade-long tenure as Chair of the Australian Aviation Hall of Fame (AAHOF), Steve Padgett OAM has announced his retirement from the Board. Mr Padgett reflected on his 10 years at the helm of AAHOF:

“I am immensely proud to have led the AAHOF Board for ten years. During that time, we relocated the Hall of Fame to Albion Park where we are now co-sited with the Historical Aircraft Restoration Society (HARS). We have made considerable progress in expanding our exhibit area to effectively showcase past and future inductees together with existing and future displays. This allows us to showcase and pay tribute to the men, women and organisations who have made outstanding contributions to aviation and aerospace in this nation. I am also very grateful for the continuing support we enjoy from our sponsors including Alliance Airlines, AMDA, Viva Energy Australia, the Civil Aviation Safety

Authority, Bendigo Bank and Norton White Lawyers. I congratulate the incoming Chair, Greg Hood AO, and welcome the appointments of two new Board members, Samantha Freebairn and Jenny Houghton. I wish Greg and the Board well for the future as AAHOF continues to honour the past and inspire the future.”

Greg Hood AO as incoming Chair, paid tribute to Steve Padgett OAM:

“Steve Padgett has been an outstanding Chair of the Australian Aviation Hall of Fame for ten years, leading AAHOF through the move to a new home at Albion Park and through the difficult years of the COVID19 pandemic. Thanks to Steve’s leadership, AAHOF is well placed to continue to grow and to honour the past and inspire the future.”

3. Chris Manning will continue as Deputy Chair of AAHOF.

BOARD Appointments

Greg Hood AO - Chair

Greg Hood commenced his career as an Officer in the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) serving throughout Australia and in the Middle East and has subsequently held the roles of Executive Manager Operations at the Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA) and Executive General Manager – Air Traffic Control at Airservices Australia. From 2016 – 2021, Greg served as the Chief Commissioner and Chief Executive Officer at the Australian Transport Safety Bureau (ATSB). Concurrently, he was also appointed Chair of the International Transportation Safety Association (ITSA). Greg was made an Officer in the Order of Australia (AO) in 2023 for his service to transport and the not-for-profit sector. Greg is a glider and powered aircraft pilot.

Samantha Freebairn - Director

Samantha is a former Pilot and Wing Commander in the Royal Australian Air Force. She has flown both combat and humanitarian relief missions on C-130H Hercules and C-17A Globemaster aircraft, was the first woman in Australia to instruct pilots in the C-17A simulator and has a career highlight of landing on an ice runway in Antarctica. She wrote

the policy that enabled her and other women to return to RAAF operational flying after having children and in 2014, won the QLD Telstra Business Women’s Award in Business Innovation for the Graduate Pilot Scheme, which incentivises military aviation to women who had never previously considered it. The initiative resulted in successfully doubling the number of women pilots in the Air Force in a two-year period, after numbers had remained stagnant for the prior 30 years.

Today Samantha is the Senior Manager of Aviation Safety Training for Qantas, a keynote speaker, executive leadership coach and with an ongoing passion for aviation actively encourages everyone to fly at plane at least once in their lives.

Jenny Houghton - Director

Aviation is not just a passion for Jenny, it’s a large part of her life and her story. She has had a lifelong immersion in aviation, in particular education and history.

Jenny undertook her first flight at 17 years of age and has since held Private and Commercial Pilots Licences with Command Instrument and Instructor ratings. She also holds a Balloon Commercial Pilot Licence and an Examiner rating and has accumulated several thousands of hours in fixed wing aircraft and in Balloons. Jenny holds a Bachelors degree in Education from Curtin University and is a Fellow of the Australian Institute of Company Directors (AICD). Many decades after she started flying, she found herself flying from the

airstrip owned by she and her husband on their property, Maygars Hill Vineyard, in Central Victoria.

During her illustrious career as a vintner, she has also found time to be elected State and National President of the Australian Women Pilots’ Association (AWPA Nat Pres 1981 – 1983 and 1987-89) and in 1986 was awarded the Nancy Bird Trophy for Outstanding Contribution to Aviation by a woman of Australasia. From 1983 – 1989, Jenny was a Board Member and Vice President of the World Aerospace Aviation Education Organisation and in 1988, was

recognised through the awarding of an Order of Merit by that organisation. She was a Board member and Vice President of the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association (AOPA) from 1986 - 1996, and in 1985, she was made a Life Member and an inductee of the Australian Ballooning Federation Hall of Fame. From 1997 – 2012, Jenny was a Board member, the Patron and is now a Life Member of the Aerospace Maritime Defence and Security Foundation of Australia Limited (AMDA).

In 2002, Jenny was inducted into the Pioneer Women Hall of Fame in Alice Springs, from 2013 has been a member of the Melbourne Health Ethics Research Committee, and in 2021 was awarded the Lorrey Bonny Award for conducting a record-breaking flight of international significance. Jenny believes that “It’s so much about the people

in aviation that are making this journey so enjoyable and worthwhile - long may we continue.”

Photo: Samantha Freebairn, Greg Hood AO and Jenny Houghton (from L to R) in front of the photo of AAHOF inductee Nancy Bird Walton AO OBE at the Australian Aviation Hall of Fame.

Since its inception in 2011, the Australian Aviation Hall of Fame has honoured individuals and organisations whose contributions have advanced aviation and aerospace in this nation.

AAHOF is a not for profit, public company limited by guarantee located upstairs at the Historical Aircraft Restoration Society Museum, more commonly known as HARs at Albion Park Rail NSW. Since its initial launch, AAHOF has been committed to preserving the history of aviation in Australia and inspiring its future.

Greg Hood


Australian Aviation Hall of Fame

Contact: Ian Poulter



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