Anthony Slaven (2000)

Anthony excels in the Air Force

We recently caught up with Anthony Slaven, who left us in 2000 to pursue a Bachelor of Science (Aviation) at Edith Cowan University. We discovered through our quick Q and A, his career since, has really taken flight.

Where are you now?

I am currently working in the UK with the Royal Air Force on exchange from the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF). I am the Officer Commanding A Flight, at 617SQN, known as ‘The Dam Busters’ for their WW2 exploits. I fly the F-35B, operating from RAF Marham in Norfolk and from the HMS Queen Elizabeth Aircraft Carrier.

Since leaving Helena, what has been your study and career journey?

I started a science degree with ECU after graduating. Part way through the degree I joined the RAAF and paused my university study. After pilot training at RAAF Pearce, near Perth, I was selected for fighter training. Since then, I have been lucky enough to fly the Hawk127, F-111, F/A-18 and F-35 with each of the Australian, United States and UK Air Forces.

In addition to living overseas in America (Phoenix) and UK (Norfolk), I have spent significant time in the Middle East, and time in many more holiday friendly locations too. The most often to feature being Malaysia, where the RAAF still has a base. I finished my science degree while doing my initial instructional tour. I also completed a diploma of languages in Indonesian, a language I started at Helena College. I began further university studies in German, however operational deployments interrupted that, and I haven’t had opportunity to finish the course.

Did you achieve your goals?

I’m lucky enough to say that I did. Where I am now is what I wanted, and it is honestly all I ever hoped it would be.

What is the most rewarding thing about what you do?

Every day that I jump into the jet I feel lucky and would be happy to do this for the rest of my working life (or as long as my body holds out). The thrill of an after-burner take-off in a supersonic fighter jet never fades.

What skills and experiences have you gained since leaving Helena?

I guess we all learn a lot of skills, however which skills really matter to me? The ability to fly fighters and do what I love. The experience of working with some truly inspirational people who made me want to be better at being a human and leader.

What’s your fondest memory of high school life?

Footy on the oval with my mates. I’m still close friends with several of them despite the fact that I’m on the other side of the world and have been for a few years. It was a great atmosphere to make friends.

What parts of your Helena education set you up to do well after school?

Supportive friends. Great teachers, all of whom I’m guessing have now gone. One that stands out in my mind was Bill Offer. He was a good human as well as good teacher, which made a great role model.

What else do you do outside of this for fun, social, recreational reasons?

Time is pretty limited right now with three kids. My wife Hayley (SGT Slaven – also in the RAAF) and I had twins second time around. That said: I still play a little guitar as I did at school, enjoy getting into the gym several times a week, and a good Sunday arvo catch up with friends. They’re always important!

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