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Do you feel the need? The need for speed.

Buckle up and prepare for takeoff as you embark on a thrilling adventure through the clouds with Combat Flights' director and pilot, John Tauschke.

Feb 3, 2023

Words: Gippslandia

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As the four-year-old made his way down the aisle of a jumbo for the first time, totally awestruck, John Tauschke knew what he was going to become when he grew up – a pilot. But first, he needed to see that this giant flying beast could even take off!

John, the director and pilot for Combat Flights, has seemingly spent more time going really freakin’ fast through the air than he has on the ground.

After tailoring his high school studies to a career with the air force, John joined the RAAF in the mid-80s and flew Macchi jets, Caribou tactical transport aircraft and VIP biz jets. John will provide you with a chuckle with tales from his time flying the VIPs, such as one instance when he was taking then–Prime Minister Bob Hawke and his Treasurer Paul Keating back to Sydney from Canberra, while they were in the midst of their leadership tussles.

John’s also spent time instructing on the RAAF PC-9 and PC-21 and has flown for the prestigious RAAF Roulettes aerobatic team. The aircraft he’ll take you for a spin in is his Nanchang CJ-6, and he’s been playing with these warbirds for more than 20 years.

Yup, as we said, John’s logged some time booting it through the clouds.

This experience puts him in an incredibly unique position to offer two aircraft aerobatic dog fights in the skies over Gippsland. Only a handful of pilots in the world can provide you with such an outrageous flying experience.

While the Nanchang can provide you with a hefty 6Gs of force, John wants you to have a hoot in the air, not head into ‘g-LOC’ and lose consciousness (always a positive). To keep things fun, John can whip the nine-cylinder, 285-horsepower aircraft at around 300km/h and up to a bum-clenching 4Gs as you get inverted over some spectacular Gippsland scenery.

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Since launching his business in mid-2021 – an excellent period for the tourism industry – John has had guests from all walks of life. He estimates that around half his co-pilots receive a flight as a surprise gift; many are adrenaline junkies, but many also want to just cruise over Gippsland, and some are potential pilots themselves.

With a whole swag of five-star ratings already, people are loving the Top Gun moments John’s providing them. It’s an insane aerial experience that you’d be a ‘Goose’ to miss out on!

Gippslandia - Issue No. 25

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Gippslandia is a community, non-profit publication. We curate an ever-optimistic take on regional, national and global issues, in a local context. Leaving you feeling like a Gippslandia local, no matter where you’re from. Read more

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