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


Sunday, February 2, 2014

Pilots' Paradise near Port Macquarie

Just five nautical miles due west of Port Macquarie, lies an 800m private grass strip. The owners of this well-tended strip – Clyde and Sue Stubbs – have built a home any aviator would envy: an architect-designed modern house with a four-place hangar and wonderful district views. So tranquil is their spot - a mere 30 minutes from the town of Port Macquarie - they recently made the decision to share their paradise with the rest of the aviation community. In the style of their house, they built The Hideout, a modern, fully equipped two bedroom self-contained cottage, constructed to showcase its rural setting, with a fabulous wide deck and access to the 15m solar heated saltwater pool and three person hot tub. To make catering easy, the Stubbs’ will provide breakfast and dinner food hampers, if ordered in advance. The tastefully decorated cottage is wonderfully appointed for families or small groups, offering a second bedroom with a flexible configuration to suit families. Small dogs and children are welcome and Clyde and Sue are warm and hospitable hosts, with a passion for aviation.

The southern edge of the property borders a branch of the Hastings River and provides a perfect spot for fishing from the bank or simply enjoying the serenity of the river.   Nearby Wauchope is surrounded by blackbutt forest and is best known for the nearby Timbertown theme park.  The town has a good range of shops, cafes and banks.

Both pilots, Clyde flies a Cirrus SR22T and Sue is the proud owner of a Cessna 150B. “We love hosting pilots,” says Sue. “There are no extra charges for fly-in visitors. We also understand that bad weather can throw schedules out when flying, so we will accommodate changes in plans as much as possible.” Hangarage is available for guests’ aircraft during their stay.

Port Macquarie, situated at the mouth of the Hastings River, has possibly the most favourable climate in NSW.  There are wonderful beaches and for water sports enthusiasts there is jet boating, parasailing, deep sea fishing, scuba diving and beach and estuary fishing.   Enjoy whale-watching cruises in season and a wide variety of river cruises, or simply stand on the beach and watch the dolphins at play.  There are a number of vineyards and a great boutique brewery.  The area is a haven for koalas and they can be seen at the various wildlife parks or at the koala hospital in town.  Port Macquarie boasts a wide range of restaurants, bars and cafes to suit every taste. 

“If you’d like to visit some of the local attractions we can also make available a vehicle for your use – you will not be stuck without transport,” says Sue.

“All landings on our strip require prior permission, and you must read the airfield information sheet (http://www.dexfieldpark.com). Occasionally, the strip is unserviceable after heavy rain, but Port Macquarie airport is only 5nm away, so there is a good alternate.  Fuel is available at Port Macquarie airport.

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