Meet the team at Phil Unicomb Aviation.

Phil Unicomb

Phil Unicomb first started flying in 1976 whilst still at school and is well known and highly respected in the aviation industry both in Australia and overseas. 

In 1984, Phil debuted in the first of his many years of competition aerobatics and air display flying. 

By 1988, Phil had established himself as a corporate pilot for well known businessman and publisher Kevin Weldon. During this time, Phil flew a variety of aircraft for Kevin including vintage aircraft, the DeHavilland Beaver Amphibian and the main aircraft the PA31-350 Piper Chieftain under single pilot IFR. 

In 1991 Phil and close friend and fellow air show pilot Squadron Leader Dave Freedman formed Action Aerobatics Pty Ltd, which was a well known school specialising in advanced pilot training. Phil remained in the role as Chief Flying Instructor and Chief Pilot for 20 years. During this time while running the school, he continued to fly air displays and produced some 40 state and national champion aerobatic pilots, including well known air show display pilot Paul Bennet with whom he still works closely. 

Phil and Dave created the Skyaces formation aerobatics team in 1992 and flew in Eastern Australia and South East Asia performing at various events including the inaugural 1993 Thai International Air Show near Bangkok, Thailand. The Skyaces live on to this day and their current pilots are all former students of Phil. The team is now operated Paul Bennet Airshows the stuff of which Phil is very proud. 

In 2003, Phil and business partners formed Air Action Pty Ltd, predominantly operating warbirds at Cessnock in the Hunter Valley whilst still running the Action Aerobatics Flying School at Maitland. During this time, Phil was operating a T6 Harvard, a T28 Trojan, a L39 Albatross Jet Fighter amongst other exotic aeroplanes. 

In 2011, Phil had a flying accident at a country air show and was incapacitated for 6 months with a fractured spine (an injury from which he has since fully recovered). Following his recovery, he was offered the position as Chief Pilot and Chief Flying Instructor at the Royal Newcastle Aero Club, a position which he held for 8 years. Phil is also an independent pilot examiner for the Civil Aviation Safety Authority in Australia and travels the country carrying out advanced training and flight tests. 

In August 2019 Phil established a new venture, Phil Unicomb Aviation Pty Ltd to offer his many services to the pilots of Australia. 

James Rose

James started flying in 1995 and completed Diploma in Aviation at Avondale College. After completing his Diploma, James headed “up North”, a rite of passage for many young Australian Pilots, and ended up flying throughout the Northern Territory as a charter pilot. It was a baptism of fire and he learned some very valuable skills that he expertly passes on to his students. 

In 2006, James completed his Flight Instructor Rating and began instructing in 2007. James is passionate about arming his students with the skills they need to operate effectively in a Commercial environment.

James married Donna, another Commercial Pilot who he met during his time instructing in the Hunter Valley. They now live in Newcastle with their baby daughter.

James has over 7000 hours of flying in General Aviation and his main specialities at PUA are Aviation Theory, Night VFR, CPL and Flight Instructor Ratings.

Evan Rose

Evan began his aviation journey in 1998 following childhood dreams of learning to fly. Following his first solo in 1999, he worked towards acquiring his Recreational Pilot Licence and Private Pilot Licence in the Hunter Valley. In the pursuit of further aviation skills, Evan earned his Commercial Pilot Licence and Flight Instructor Rating with PUA. 

Evan is a Newcastle local and credits his success in pursuing his aviation dreams to the presence of so many skilled aviators in the Newcastle/Hunter Region. Having an established family in Newcastle, he values staying local to help pass on the dream of flight to new students. 

Outside of aviation, Evan holds a Master of Business Administration (MBA) and is a Cisco Certified Internetwork Expert (CCIE). Additionally, Evan is a musician having played drums in various Newcastle bands and the Australian Army over the years. 

Frank D'Alterio

Frank gained his Recreational Pilot Licence when he was 16 years old and then after earning his PPL, joined the Royal Australian Air Force in 1984 at the age of 18.  Frank graduated from 133 Pilots Course receiving the Most Proficient Pilot Award and was posted to Williamtown to fly fighters.  On completion of the operational conversion to the F/A-18 Hornet, Frank was awarded the Weapons Trophy.  In 1990, Frank graduated from 22 Fighter Combat Instructor Course (Australia’s “Top Gun” equivalent) and then became an Instrument Rating Examiner on the F/A-18 Hornet.  Frank’s RAAF career provided him with many exciting aviation experiences including back seat flights in the Mirage III, F4 Phantom, F15 Eagle, and the A4 Skyhawk. 

After leaving the RAAF, Frank joined Cathay Pacific Airways based in Hong Kong and after 28 years with the airline, took redundancy in July 2021 as a senior check and training captain.

Frank’s area of expertise with Phil Unicomb Aviation is in Multi-Engine IFR training and runs our IREX theory course.  Frank is also a CASA flight examiner for instrument ratings and for the multi-engine class rating.

Georgia Volschenk

Georgia completed a Bachelor of Aviation at UNSW in 2011 through which she earned her Commercial Pilot Licence and Multi-Engine Command Instrument Rating, and completed her Air Transport Pilot Licence theory examinations. She completed her Flight Instructor Rating in 2012 started her Flying Instruction career in the beautiful Hunter Valley.   

In 2017, Georgia joined the Royal Australian Air Force where she finished as Dux of ADF 98 Basic Pilot Course. Unfortunately, thanks to medical complications, she did not finish pilot training, instead ending up “flying a desk” in Fighter Operations at Williamtown at No. 2 Operational Conversion Unit. During her RAAF career, Georgia had the privilege of experiencing back seat flights in the F/A-18 Hornet during various training sorties, attending exercises with foreign militaries, and seeing the retirement of the F/A-18 Hornet at Williamtown.  

After far too long on the ground, Georgia made the decision to return to civil aviation and her passion for Flying Instruction at Phil Unicomb Aviation. Now a young mother, Georgia loves “turning blue into green” during aerobatics and her current goal is to add aerobatics instruction to her list of qualifications. 

Scott Panazzolo

Originally a carpenter and epoxy flooring specialist, Scott decided to pursue a career in aviation after a Trial Instructional Flight at Goulburn Flight Training got him hooked straight away. He quit his job in construction, moved to Sydney and studied full time at Basair at Bankstown Aerodrome. Within 18 months he had finished his training and was ready to work in the industry. After a slow start due to Covid, Scott met Phil during his Flight Instructor Proficiency Check  and very soon after he moved to Newcastle to begin working with PUA. 

Scott currently specialises in ab initio training  and hopes to expand his qualifications with tailwheel and aerobatics in the future.

Outside of flying, Scott keeps busy with hobbies including snowboarding, playing beach volleyball, skydiving and training at the gym.

Greg Gibbon

Greg started flying in the 1980s when he was tutoring University mathematics. On his very first lesson it struck him how much more exciting and rewarding it would be to train people to fly. When he achieved his PPL, Greg loved to explore outback Australia with friends and even had the privilege of flying in the USA, island hopping around Hawaii and even flying into Honolulu Airport in a Cessna 172!

While working as a researcher with the Department of Defence and lecturing at the University of Tasmania and University of Newcastle, Greg completed his Flight Instructor training and for the past 15 years Greg has been sharing his love of aviation enthusiastically. He finds it incredibly rewarding and especially loves seeing the excitement and satisfaction in people as they master the skills required to become a Pilot.

Toby Unicomb

Toby is often the first person you’ll talk to at PUA as, although he is not a flight instructor, he does perform many of the non-teaching roles in our school. Toby looks after admin, accounting, marketing, and our social media so if you have any questions or need assistance during your time with PUA then don’t hesitate to get in touch with Toby! 

When not performing one of his many roles at PUA, Toby can also be found joining the rest of our students in completing his own flight training. Ultimately, Toby plans to complete his CPL and Flight Instructor Rating so that he too can join the ranks of our awesome teaching team.