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


Saturday, January 14, 2012

Day Two (cont'd)

Day Two (cont'd)

After alighting the glider and gulping a whole can of full fat coke, I began to think of our departure. The wind was still from the north east, and mostly down the strip, but had certainly picked up (the sock was still at a key party). Mr Bigg started to look worried. Mimi weighs under 300kgs and the upwind leg of the strip contained a stretch of trees that screamed turbulence. He suggested I go first, as the guinea pig. Even though I was flying an aircraft at twice the weight and almost double the horsepower, I was still trepidacious, having experienced strips like these in late arvo on my Biggus Trippus. With too large a tailwind to take the other side, it just had to be suffered. And suffered it was. I began with a short field take off, with the intention of gaining plenty of height to clear the worst of the burbly, but it just wasn't enough. You'd've needed a chopper to get out without aerial breakdancing.

Reader, I swore. With a Christian passenger on board, I took the name of his saviour and combined it with words rhyming with 'cluck' 'pit' and 'farce'. No pilot likes turbulence so close to the ground, but nonetheless, I am ashamed of myself. Imagine passing seven exams, a knowledge deficiency test and countless practice forced landings only to fail your Commercial Pilot's test for having potty mouth. It's a far worse habit than approaching too high, flaring too early or taxing on the brakes....

After finding still air - and apologising to Robbs, who took it pretty well, considering - we made tracks for Archerfield. We were cleared to transit the Gold Coast at 1500 ft, which out us at the height of some of the buildings! Apart from being unable to find the VFR point (Target, on top of a shopping centre - the award winner for most stupid inbound point, given the visible landmarks in the area) the approach and landing were uneventful. Apart from my surprise at the runway being grass, which turned to delight on landing as the grass is always more 'forgiving', everything was fairly straightforward.

At Archerfield we were to be met by one of Sport Pilot's most faithful contributors, Arthur Marcel. Arthur had kindly offered to put us up for the night and take us dancing. We'd arranged to meet at four, and it was only later I remembered there is a time difference of an hour.

Arthur is a keen and passionate dancer, as well as a pilot and owner of a Sapphire (single seater in the RA category). He and his gorgeous wife took us to the Brisbane Jazz Club, on the river, right in the city. There, a big band played, people swung (as in swing dancing) and poor Arthur tried to pretend he was not pushing a plank of wood across the floor when I danced with him. Under endowed in the co-ordination department is an understatement! I had warned him I couldn't dance, and he had the decency not to look too appalled, but I had to drink two G&Ts before I was game to try again. Nonetheless, it was a fab night. In one day I'd experienced gliding, profane turbulence and twirling....

1 comment:

  1. Potty mouth indeed.... most important thing is you kept the plane safe and the passengers ears will recover... Just avoid keeping the PTT pressed next time!!!