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, January 11, 2012

 Day One (cont'd)

Note to Self: Beware of Complacency

An hour or so later we were in Ballina, but not before I'd made a stupid and potentially dangerous stuff up. I'd heard the five hundred hour mark was the point where pilots become complacent; I just didn't think it would apply to me. I'd failed to check the circuit direction in the ERSA, and assumed left hand circuits. It was right hand. As I joined a left downwind, another aircraft joined right (rightly). Luckily, a third aircraft had heard my joining call and informed the war bird in the right place of my position. I hopped on the radio to apologise and rectify, and it turned out he was one of those rare gentlemen aviators, who said, "you go ahead. I'll go in after"

Well, with all that talking, I was a bit high (in terms of height, and airheadedness). I landed half way down the runway (and it's nearly 2km at Ballina) and rolled through to take the exit at the end only to discover there IS no exit at the end. I had to backtrack, causing the Gentleman Aviator to go around.

And then, face burning with shame, I see my editor, Mr Bigg, waiting for me at the taxiway. Ballina is his home aerodrome. Of all the aerodromes in this immense country, why did I have to stuff up at his??

After shutting down (and almost breaking down in tears!) I located the Gentleman Aviator to apologise. He was as gallant on the ground as in the sky, and even mentioned he'd enjoyed reading my column.

Luckily, Mr Bigg is a forgiving kinda guy and soon all was forgotten as he'd promised to take me for a spin in his Mimi, a Atec Zephyr.

Ahhh, what a lovely aircraft! Smooth, gentle, low wing, t-tailed and sporty looking, she was a joy to fly. A polite, but not timid, little bird. I could have stayed up for hours, flying around the gorgeous Byron coast line, but once again the wind was picking up, and the time was approaching wine o'clock. So we joined the (right hand) circuit and came in to land. Mimi is so light, but yet so well behaved, Mr Bigg danced her onto the runway, tied her down and led me (and Robbs, and Mr Bigg's son - Little Bigg) to the pub for a steak and a wine.

1 comment:

  1. I see, this is a great line to get a ride in another plane... You did it all on purpose... clearly.... BTW us older folks find the transparency hard to read on this site,, the words over the TV disappear!!!... Keep on Blogging... and plan a trip to West Africa!