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, June 9, 2012

How to Feel Like a Celebrity

Recently, I was invited to Watts Bridge for their annual fly-in. Stuck as I am in the basin of Sydney, where very little happens in terms of av-events, I was strapped in and ready to go before you could say 'sausage sizzle'. Having spent the morning in the charming and educational company of the Caboolture Gliding Club - spinning and looping with instructor extraordinaire, Peter John - I was hyped up and ready to visit one of SE Queenland's favourite fly-ins.

As the guest of David Brown, vice president of the SAAA, I was honoured to be given the left hand seat of his RV10. A short flight from Caboolture in any aircraft, Watts Bridge seemed mere minutes away in David's Rocket Vehicle. Before I had time to fully acquaint myself with the glass, we were approaching the circuit at 160knots.

The one sure downside of flying in to an event is the audience - there to ensure you conduct the least elegant landing of your life. Luckily for me, David talked me through mine, as I am not fortunate enough to fly such a high powered aircraft, and with the combination of very little wind and a grass surface (oh so forgiving) the landing was fine. Which is just as well, because everybody was there.

As I drooled and dribbled (and other unladylike things) at the amazing array of aircraft, I was approached by a gentleman called Ron Ennis who asked me if I like to go for a fly in his Tiger Moth. And not just any old Tiger Moth, but the most immaculate example of a Tiger Moth I have ever seen. I donned the leather cap and headset before he could change his mind.

My work leads me to many, many interesting aircraft, but never in my life have I felt so special, so privileged, as I did in this beautiful deHavilland. As we taxiied to the runway, people waved, photographers clicked and mobile phones flashed - I felt like an Amelia, complete with goggles.

As we lined up, we received a call from two other Tiger Moths, wanting to take off and fly in formation with us. I caught the sight of our shadow on the ground; our trio of biplanes in formation. It was most breath-taking shadow I had seen since I was a child, catching my own on the wall one sunny afternoon, convincing myself I was, for a moment, tall.

We remained in formation for about ten mins, and I watched with delight as we danced around each other, sometimes seeming to fly backwards. After we pulled out of formation, Ron handed her over to me for a fly. Once you get used to the noise (and remember to keep your head out of the slip stream) they are such beautiful birds to fly (although Ron wasn't game enough to let me attempt to land her). My stinging nose was a sign to turn back to the airfield, where Ron took over. The landing was so soft I didn't even hear or feel the wheels touch the grass.

As we taxiied in, the crowd of wavers returned and I yearned for red lipstick and my leather flying boots. All I could do was wave, and smile and pretend that the perfect landing (and that perfect Tiger Moth) was all mine....

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