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


Wednesday, December 28, 2011

November's Cover

They say, 'never work with amateurs' but what if YOU are the amateur?

That was most certainly the case when the job of photographing November's cover fell to me. My friend, Paul Turner aka Bert, has the most splendidly elegant aircraft - a tandem, tail wheel Cub replica, known (strangely) as the Savage Cruiser. From day one, I had longed to see her on the cover. Almost as much as I longed to fly off in her into the sunset (except she has no DI, or cabin heat. And I wouldn't bank on my being able to actually land her..)

And then, one day, the elements came together seamlessly. Suddenly we had the aircraft, the pilot, a spare aircraft with a high wing, another pilot AND the weather, all on the same day. The only thing we didn't have was a photographer. In place of a photographer, we decided we would use me. A person so unco I was picked after the fat girl at school in any team sport. A person who had to wear velcroed shoes until she was 12. I have two talents, and neither of them amount to the skill required to take a photograph; never mind a cover photo.

Giving Bert 15 minutes to get ahead of us (our paparazzi plane being a Jab 230) we took of from Dixon's Creek with the aim of using the local mountain range as a backdrop. My pilot, Martin Smith of Eagle Aviaion - aka The Stig - flew in steep turns around our slow and graceful red lady, while I engineered myself into a twist to take photos from the back window (with a hangover, no less!)

The result was: 115 shots taken, 3 useable. And then only with a talented designer to make them glow. The other 112 each featured a third or so of the aircraft, and the rest sky. I had 38 shots of the aircraft's wheels. Perhaps I should make a jigsaw of Bert's aircraft as a gift for him.

I now have a newfound respect for photographers, and will certainly never work without one again. I can also see that whilst journalists have a repuatation for being hard drinkers, photographers seldom do. They're up there with tattooists and surgeons when it comes to the 'steady hand' component of their profession.

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