Decade of aviation innovation honoured

An avionics technician who developed bespoke secure communications for C-27J Spartan aircraft and rapidly assembled a Hercules maintenance crew for deployment to assist in evacuating Afghan civilians was among those honoured this Australia Day.

CAPTIONAustralia Day Award recipient Sergeant Justin Kurban, an aviation technician with 37 Squadron, RAAF Base Richmond. Story by Corporal Jacob Joseph.

Sergeant Justin Kurban received a Medal of the Order of Australia for his work at 35 Squadron and 37 Squadron over almost a decade, including technical achievements and new ways of managing personnel to improve efficiency.

He implemented a system to track flying hours of maintenance crew, who are often required on board when a plane leaves on task.

“We’ve had people running about 300 flying hours in the year,” Sergeant Kurban said.

“A moderate-flying pilot might do around 450 to 500.”

For Sergeant Kurban, who has clocked hundreds of hours in the air, passing over deserts and snow-capped mountains, the mission was reward enough.

“With fast jets it was a lot of training flights and bombing camps,” he said.

“In Air Mobility Group, I’ve been on countless humanitarian tasks and helped lots of people.

“That’s been a driving factor to make the platforms a better capability and made my work feel more worthwhile — but never in my wildest dreams did I think someone would nominate me for an award.”

Sergeant Kurban switched from fast jets to cargo planes almost a decade ago, working with Flight Sergeant Chris Winser ever since and more recently Sergeant Gavin Jefferis, who both put his name forward for the award.

“He’s an expert technician and computer programmer who has enhanced C-27J and C-130J capability,” Flight Sergeant Winser said.

“He is an utmost professional who consistently goes above and beyond. When you think about all the things he’s achieved over two squadrons, the OAM is fitting.”


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