THE FIGHTER PILOT
Fighter Pilots operate in some of the most rapidly changing, complex and hostile environments on Earth, yet they consistently excel in achieving planned outcomes. Why is it so?
They are certainly intellectually, physiologically and psychologically the ‘right stuff’ and of course they learn and practice a wide range of flying, navigation, fighting etc. skills to a level of proficiency only a few attain.
Fighter pilots are also particularly adept at maintaining clear focus on objectives in the midst of complexity. This is a learned skill too, that relies on simple and repeatable processes to get things done, but unlike their other skills it requires no special talent. They are a critical part of the ‘fighter pilot way’ that anyone can learn and it’s the ‘secret sauce’ of Afterburner’s FLEX process.
Afterburner brings the fighter pilot way to business
AFTERBURNER AUSTRALIA & NEW ZEALAND
Afterburner Australia & New Zealand is a team of fighter pilots who are passionate about helping business learn and apply the same techniques to achieve mission success that worked for them in their air force careers.
Christian “Boo” Boucousis – Managing Director
Christian “Boo” Boucousis was a fighter pilot in the Royal Australian Air Force for 10 years. He is now the CEO of Mode, an innovative property development group that is currently developing Australia’s tallest prefabricated hotel in the Perth CBD.
Boo’s story is a real world example of how fighter pilots use the skills developed during their military careers to succeed in business.
Diagnosed with a serious medical condition, Boo could no longer fly fighter aircraft and so he decided to take the plunge into business. Using the skills and knowledge he acquired in the Air Force, he co-founded a successful humanitarian support company in the Middle East growing it to over 1,500 staff. Boo then sold that business and moved back to Australia to focus on developing affordable building methods, which was the genesis of Mode.
Boo attributes his success in business to the values and discipline he learned in the Air Force – focus, efficiency, continuous improvement and simplicity. And because of this experience, Boo fundamentally believes that the simple methodology used by fighter pilots (which Afterburner calls FLEX), can accelerate the performance of any business or organisation.
“Wardy” – Chief Operations Officer
Wardy joined the Royal Australian Airforce (“RAAF”) when he was 19 years old and has been flying fighter jets ever since. In 2006 he became a fighter instructor and a year later was selected as the Australian F/A-18 Display Pilot conducting low-level aerobatic demonstrations at air-shows around the country.
In 2009 Wardy was appointed as Australia’s first Super Hornet Instructor and Director of Training for Australian Super Hornet pilots and weapons systems officers. This appointment was carried out in California with the US Navy prior to the new jets arriving in Australia.
During his post in USA, Wardy completed a day and night qualification on US aircraft carriers. Upon returning to Australia in 2011 he was promoted to the Executive Officer of one of the RAAF’s fighter training squadrons during which he was responsible for 170 people and 17 jets.
Currently Wardy dedicates half his time heading up the RAAF’s planning team, managing the training, operations and emergency and contingency planning activities of the RAAF’s jets and fighter force personnel all around the world. The other half of his time is spent as the Chief Operations Officer of Afterburner Australia.
Wardy is passionate about sharing the culture and ethos of fighter pilots with others and finds it extremely rewarding when he is able to assist teams improve their performance. He has significant experience working with small teams in areas such as medical, sporting and sales.
“Slash” – FLEX Coach and Facilitator
Slash grew up in the UK and joined the Royal Air Force (“RAF”) at 18 years of age. Slash’s talent as a pilot was quickly recognised and, after only 3 years in the cockpit, he was selected to attend the Central Flying School to train as a Qualified Flying Instructor (“QFI”). Completing one tour as a QFI, Slash went on to fly the Harrier for 6 years. During this time he became a Qualified Weapons Instructor (the RAF equivalent to Top Gun) and completed operational tours in Iraq and the Former Republic of Yugoslavia.
After 12 years in the RAF, Slash recognised that promotion and a posting out of the cockpit were inevitable so he made the decision to pursue his passion for flying. He accepted a job working for BAE Systems as a contracted flying instructor, teaching Royal Saudi Air Force pilots on the Hawk lead-in fighter trainer.
Slash spent 4 years living and working in Saudi Arabia before accepting an offer to bring his considerable experience to the Royal Australian Air Force (“RAAF”). In 2001 he became a flying instructor on the RAAF’s newly purchased Hawks. In 2003 he had the honour of selection as the first RAAF Hawk Display Pilot when he performed his aerobatic display at many locations, including the Australian International Airshow, Avalon. Later in 2003 Slash switched to the F/A-18 Hornet; he subsequently served on two operational squadrons and one tour as the Chief Instructor at the F/A-18 training squadron.
Slash joined the Afterburner team in 2005. His passion for sharing the discipline of execution has kept him extremely motivated to split his time between Afterburner and his full time role in the RAAF. In 2010 he completed a year of study and earned a Masters in Strategy and Management. Slash immediately put this to use when he was appointed as Chief of Plans for Air Combat Group, where he was responsible for planning all operations and exercises involving fighter aircraft from 2011 to 2013. He has since returned to the F/A-18 training squadron, teaching new F/A-18 pilots. Slash has amassed well over 5000 missions as a fighter pilot and has considerable experience teaching, mentoring and planning, both in the military and in business.
Our team of coaches and facilitators are all current or former serving Royal Australian or New Zealand Air Force fighter pilots. They are some of the most effective operators in the world. They plan at the highest level, brief clearly and concisely, maintain focus and manage task saturation, and strive to improve after every mission. Our coaches and facilitators bring the unique culture, ethos and know-how of the fighter pilot community to their work with business.