1943 – 2016
David Massy-Greene’s flying career began when he was accepted as a Cadet on the very first Qantas Cadet Pilot Scheme in 1965.He went on to Dux that course and was then appointed as aQantas Airways Second Officer in late 1966.
During his flying career in Qantas David was one of the select few who flew the Boeing 707 both as a pilot and as a navigator.He was promoted to Captain on the classic Boeing 747 in 1984.This involved flying the numerous versions of the 747 operated by Qantas; the -200, -300, -200 Combi and the SP. CaptainMassy-Greene went on to operate the Boeing 767 -200 and -300models and finally the Boeing 747-400.He was the Fleet Captain for the 767 and then became involved with the introduction into Qantas of the – as yet unflown -Boeing 747-400.
David became the Project Pilot for the -400, and was intimately involved in the development of the detailed specifications for this aircraft with Qantas and with Boeing in Seattle.There are many features in the 757-400 that are due to the input of David Massy-Greene.
He helped make the aircraft a‘pilot’s airplane.David went on to do the delivery and test flying at Boeing for 15of Qantas’s 747-400s. David’s knowledge of the 747-400was unique. Not only did he have a deep knowledge of the individual aircraft systems but he also knew how individual systems could affect other systems on the aircraft – particularly with various failure modes.
This was evidenced by Boeing engineers who, knowing David was in Seattle, would frequently request meetings to seek advice on various technical issues or ask questions regarding the new 747-400.David is probably remembered by most for captaining the record breaking 747-400 flight from London to Sydney. That flight involved a huge amount of planning – from organising direct routing across the various countries along the route, to super-cooling the fuel and to being towed to the holding point so that valuable fuel wasn’t used for taxiing.
The critical and meticulous planning required for this flight was typical of how David managed his profession. The flight was a success in no small part due to this professionalism.
The new technology on-board the -400 led to the development of the FANS-1 avionics package. David worked closely with Boeing and other airlines, air traffic control organisations and regulators to develop this package, have it installed and made operational.
FANS-1 was another example of the extraordinary vision of David Massy-Greene.By using satellite and GPS technology, the aim of FANS-1 was to develop an avionics package that would provide accurate and reliable communications, surveillance and navigation for aircraft anywhere around the globe. This would then enable flights to operate independently and more efficiently.The FANS-1 Certification flying was conducted by Boeing engineers and David Massy-Greene at Sydney using Qantas aircraft. It was the first time any 747 Type Certification had been completed by Boeing outside of Seattle.
This was another indication of the huge respect the Boeing Company held forDavid Massy-Greene.Qantas then became the first airline to purchase FANS-1from Boeing.FANS-1 allowed flight times across the Pacific to be reduced by25 minutes. With suitable air traffic management procedures in place, it also allowed aircraft to fly optimum en-route flight profiles and instrument approach procedures much more accurately, efficiently and – many would argue – much more safely.
FANS-1 saved QANTAS and other airlines tens of millions of dollars and moved the aviation and the Air Traffic control community into the twenty-first century. It was through DavidMassy-Green’s vision and determination that this system was developed and introduced.Today, all manufacturers of airline aircraft included FANS as standard equipage. The system is used worldwide and has totally changed the operation of airlines.
David and Qantas then went on to assist the Chinese in establishing a route through Western China using FANS-1. This route saved up to 50 minutes between Bangkok and Europe and also avoided the volatile countries in the Middle East andAfghanistan.Captain Massy-Greene was awarded numerous international awards with respect to his vision and implementation of FANS.
The awards include the very first ‘Global Navcom Laurel’ from the International Air Transport Association, and the JohnstoneMemorial Trophy from the Guild of Air Pilots and Air Navigators.The presentation speech at Global Navcom in 1995 stated ‘We believe that CNS/ATM (FANS) is the most important thing to happen to aviation since the jet engine. This Global Navcom Laurel will try to recognise the often unsung heroes.’ David was the recipient of that initial award.He was also a member of numerous industry committees involved in rule changing and implementation of technology. He spoke at many conferences around the world while working for both Qantas and Boeing.After retiring from Qantas in 1999 as the Manager CNS/ATM -which is the modern term for FANS – Boeing recruited David to work at the plant in Seattle.It was during this time that David began working on the electronic flight-bag.
As a result of his work, on most flight-decks today there are no maps or charts. Pilots now carry an iPad which replaces the previous heavy paper manuals and navigation charts.INDUCTEEPaperwork has now all but disappeared from the flight-deck.The electronic flight-bag was another visionary effort by David. The implementation of this vision is now almost universal throughout the industry.
David was also awarded a United States Patent while working atBoeing. This Patent related to his work with the electronic flight-bag.Australia has a justifiably proud aviation history and heritage. This has been achieved over the decades by the efforts of special individuals and organisations who have made a difference.David Massy-Greene was one of these luminaries.His creative vision, absolute commitment and determination, and many successful implementations throughout an outstanding flying career have left an exceptional legacy and change modern aviation forever. David passed away in August 2016 after a battle with leukaemia. He is survived by three sons and their families