ABOUT JIM THORN
Long time specialist aerospace writer and author, Jim, combined fact and fiction in his earlier novels, Falklands 2
His latest literary effort, Off Target, is a hard hitting revelation of the massive waste within the Australian Department of Defence's dysfunctional procurement programs of recent decades. Covered in a concise but highly readable style are the project debacles relating to the Navy's Collins Class submarines, rust bucket landing ships, errant frigate upgrades and their original dubious helo choice, Super Seasprites that never even entered service, Orion upgrades, Wamira trainer and the Jindalee radar system. There is also a chapter on a number of international fiascos.
Born in 1948, ironically a stone's throw from Sydney Airport, Jim left school in his fifteenth year to pursue a career with Qantas Airways as a trainee ground engineer. Tyranny of distance though ultimately won out and he left to join the publishing industry where he gained real world skills in the areas of journalism, marketing, advertising and ultimately business management. For most of these early years he was Commercial Manager for Racetrack magazine as well as a freelance writer for a number of motor sport print mediums.
During a trip to Asia Jim identified numerous trading possibilities and consequently at age twenty launched an import/export business that for a time succesfully exported Australian made kit homes and high quality equine products to Japan and Hong Kong. In the latter stages of that period he also established one of Australia's first quick service photo processing laboratories as well as an insurance brokerage specialising in the throroughbred equine industry.
However, despite these diversions, his heart was always in all things aeronautical and so Jim launched Australian Aviation magazine in 1977 on a shoestring budget and an abundance of hope as firstly an annual, which then evolved to become a quarterly and later a bi-monthly, before finally becoming a monthly in 1991. In 2005 Jim 'retired' from full time publishing and sold his interest in Australian Aviation to his long time key staffers Gerard Frawley, Andrew McLaughlin and Lee-Anne Simm who keep the dream alive to this day.
Since its inception four decades ago Australian Aviation was and continues to be the largest selling aviation journal in the southern hemisphere and still prospers as the region’s premier print and electronic aerospace medium.
In 1996 Jim won the prestigious London based Royal Aeronautical Society’s literary award for the best air transport feature of that year. He followed that up in 2001 with another RAS award for the best defence submission and in 2005 won a lifetime achievement award for his contribution to aviation journalism in Australia and New Zealand from the National Aviation Press Club.
As well as writing hundreds of major features over a career spanning four decades he also wrote his first novel, Falklands 2 in 1997, a second, Mustang Summer the following year and Alive & Well in 1999 and Off Target in 2011. When not writing, Jim’s major interests are motor sport, reading, bushwalking, downhill and cross country skiing and (non lycra) cycling.
Jim’s passion for aviation dates back to his childhood and since then he has had the pleasure of flying in more than 130 different aircraft types ranging from gliders to supersonic fighters. Jim has a daughter, Natalie, and shares his life with Maureen, his best friend and partner and they call Queensland’s Gold Coast home.
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