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


Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Ausfly - An Event Extraordinaire

 My parting words in my last phone call to David Brown, Vice President of SAAA and organizer of Ausfly were,

 “oh, and you have organized the weather with the gods of the sky, haven’t you?’

“Of course!” he scoffed.

Clearly, Mr Brown has a direct line to the elemental organisers, as the weather was as well planned as the rest of the event. Aside from the Thursday (the day I was scheduled to fly in, incidentally) the weather was splendid. Admittedly, it was a tad windy on the
morning of the Friday, and for those of us doomed to tents, it was a bit nippy in the wee hours (truth be told, my eyelashes welded together with frost and the idea of ‘glamping’ – glamorous camping –  was just that: an idea). Happily, though, the Saturday was stunning.

As the newly appointed editor of AOPA’s Australian Pilot magazine,  I arrived on the Thursday. Unable, or rather unwilling, to brave the enormous front moving towards Narromine, I hopped on Qantas to Dubbo and hired a car. When I arrived at the aerodrome on Thursday evening, the place was already abuzz.

Friday afternoon was spent catching up with all the old regulars – Bose, CASA, RA Aus, Jabiru, Pacific Avionics, Brumby, etc. We at AOPA had a display stand inside; it was fabulous to see so many of our members in the flesh.

The air displays on Friday were marvelous, and the barbeque a roaring success. Some one (who shall remain nameless) persuaded me of the anti-freeze qualities of red wine, and encouraged me to drink a-plenty to fight off the frost.

Saturday was taken up – after several paracetamol – with the AOPA safety seminars, the OzRunways seminar (packed!) and many visits to the coffee stall (their caramel tarts were to die for!).

Andrew Andersen at the AOPA seminar
The dinner, held in the hangar, was wonderful. The tables were laid with candles and stars, and the speeches were inspirational, particularly those from Peter Pretorious and young Ryan Campbell. Ryan is attempting to fly solo around the world, breaking the record of youngest soloist by four years. Greg Hood from CASA played a very charming game of ‘flight longevity’ leaving the oldest aviator in the room standing. The gentleman in question gained his pilot’s licence in 1952!

Sunday morning began with the sound of aircraft departing. AOPA conducted another seminar in the morning, on the changes imminent in avionics, particularly pertaining to ADS-b.

I took off around lunchtime, having scored a seat in AOPA president Andrew Andersen’s 182. The journey home to Bankstown (one hour and thirty seven minutes) provided us with the perfect time to dissect the event. We both agreed that the most delightful element of the event was seeing all factions of aviation together in one airshow – AOPA, SAAA, RA Aus, CASA, AWAL, etc 

Andrew’s conclusion,

"It's easy to be dominated by half-informed emotional negativity. Doing is harder than complaining. AOPA is working hard to represent the interests of everyone actively involved in general aviation. We appreciate the support of our members and the friendship of kindred organisations"

Summed up the event perfectly in my opinion. Word in the air is that the event will be on again next year.

One thing's for certain: I'm booking my accommodation right away; there'll be no glamping for me next year.

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