Welcome to my blog.

In 2008, I received a trial flight in a light aircraft - a flight which changed my life. After a mere thirty minutes in an asthmatic old Cessna, I decided I would become a pilot. It was love at first flight. As Leonardo Da Vinci famously said - Once you have tasted flight, you will forever walk the earth with your eyes turned skyward, for there you have been, and there you will always long to return.”

However, like any relationship, there were highs (and there were puns!) and there were many moments where I thought I would never grasp this new skill.

After fifteen instructors, six flying schools and enough tears to fill a dam, I became a private pilot. And, because of a strong masochistic streak, I decided to study for my Commercial Pilot's Licence.

This blog is a working narrative of my time as a pilot, through my personal writing, my round Australia trip and my career as an aviation journalist, magazine editor, customer engagement manager for AvPlan EFB and aircraft salesperson for Cirrus Sydney.

Aviation has changed my life: through learning to fly I have discovered a part of myself that is resilient, organised and capable of great joy as a result of hard work, setbacks and learning.

In the words of Socrates, “Man must rise above the Earth – to the top of the atmosphere and beyond – for only thus will he fully understand the world in which he lives.”

Thanks for reading, and please feel free to email me with advice and suggestions on


Monday, December 20, 2010

Diary of a Dep Ed - Part Two

My next assignment - and a thumb in the nose to the weather gods - was out of Bankstown. On a glorious CAVOK day, I was introduced to the Liberty XL2
which along with Demo Pilot Nigel, I took for a spin (although not literally).

It's a very sporty little number, with blissfully comfortable bucket seats, and rudder pedals that come to you (so for once, I am spared the indignity of having to sit on a cushion!) It has a FADEC (full authority digital engine control) system, which means no mixture, no carby heat and pretty much no checks! It also has a stick, rather than a yoke, which I prefer (whatcha make of that, Uncle Freud?) as I find it more intuitive.

After pootling around in the training area, we headed over to Camden to see how it handled in the circuit. With a TAS 120 knots, it's a zippy little thing, and yet surprisingly stable.

As I picked up the ATIS, the weather gods became the embodiment of the sneaky instructor who throws in a crosswind on the sim, just as you've set up a nice, stable approach.

"Here ya go, test-pilot gal! Here's 15 knots for ya!"

"Puh, weather gods!" retorted I. "I should THANK you! I mean, there's nothing like tricky conditions to put a new aircraft to the test, is there?"

"Ooooh, what about some turbulence, at about 200 feet, then? We know how you LOVE that!"

"Bring it on!" said I, whilst adding, breathlessly, "you're on with me here, Nigel, right?"

Which of course he was. I mean, what kind of Demo Pilot lets a 150 hour PIC loose in his $250,000 aircraft, in a crosswind, on her first landing? So, we did it together. It handled very nicely. We did a few more. Sweet. Bit slippery in the flare, and, rather like a tail-wheel, it needs to be pinned down on landing, but can take off with full-flap, so uses very little runway.

On the way back, we did a couple of steep turns (wonderful visibility) and some stalls (very sedate) and came in to land at Bankstown, with the wind largely down the runway.

AS we taxiied back to Schoey's, I realised two things:
a) you can't put a price on comfort whilst flying
b) I LOVE my job!

No comments:

Post a Comment