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, February 10, 2015

Girl with a Relay Stick

I don’t think I know one person who hasn’t been touched by cancer. My aunt died of breast cancer at the age of 39; my husband’s mother died of cancer when he was seven, and my father in law has recently battled (and won) a nasty attack of bowel cancer.

One in ten women – including my self and my lovely sister in law – know what it’s like to have an irregular pap smear result; and I’ve been having breast cancer screening since I was 29.

Whether we like it or not, cancer is part of our lives.

With that in mind, it’s with huge pleasure that I take part in the Women Pilots’ Relay of Flight to raise funds for the Cancer Council. As a private pilot with around 600 hours, I’ll find any reason I can to fly, and there can be no better reason than flying to raise awareness about something that is such a huge presence in all of our lives.

I’m excited to be carrying the baton from Mallacoota to Merimbula on my way home to Sydney from the Avalon Air Show. As a member of the Australian Women Pilots’ Association, I’m proud to be part of a team of women, from all walks the aviation sector – from balloons to 737s – who are so committed to raising public awareness in a way that’s fun and adventurous.

Additionally, as a member of the AvPlan EFB team – who are supplying an iPad with a full version of AvPlan EFB for the duration of the relay – I’m thrilled to be contributing in a practical way that ensures improved situational awareness for the team.

I’d like to thank my dear friend Andrew Andersen, for permitting me to fly his lovely C182 – VH-OPA – for this leg of the trip.

If you’d like to sponsor me as part of the Relay Team, please click here

Onwards and Upwards!

Sunday, February 8, 2015

Women Pilots Relay - an Amazing Way to Raise Awareness and Funds for Cancer Research

I'm very excited about getting involved in this, and will be at the AWPA event in Launceston to see the baton arrive. AvPlan EFB has kindly donated an iPad loaded with a full IFR/Georeference version of AvPlan, which will join the ladies on the trip around Australia.

If you're interested in the trip, and the amazing diversity of aircraft flown by some of Australia's most kick arse aviatrices, do check out the blog at http://womenpilotsrelay.blogspot.com.au 

Most of us have been touched by cancer at some point during our lives. Some have had their own personal battles and many of us have lost loved ones to the disease.

Cancer Councils are the leading independent funders of cancer research in Australia. In 2014, research grants through Cancer Councils totalled more than $65 million. Cancer Councils directly funded $42.9 million in research, with a further $22.2 million contributed by research funding partners.

A group of female pilots, mostly from the Australian Women PilotsAssociation (AWPA) members, wanted to help make a difference and why not do it by sharing our love of flying?

The concept is pretty simple;
  • Starting from the Avalon Airshow on the 2nd March 2015 and finishing at the Australian Women PilotsAssociation National Conference in Launceston Tasmania, women pilots from all areas of Australia have been recruited to fly a relay baton in their aircraft around Australia to raise money for The Cancer Council.
  • Each participating team will plan their flight somewhere along a proposed route anti clockwise around Australia and will pass a commemorative baton from each flight crew to the next along the route and then handed to the next state at the designated exchange point. Aircraft will range from smaller powered aircraft, gliders, balloons, twin engines, helicopters, Navy and Air Force aircraft, through to the big airliners.
  • The relay details and photographs will be recorded by each team and uploaded to the web site and Facebook page so that others can watch our progress around Australia.
The Cancer Council have a link on their website for people to donate to the cause as we fly around Australia to raise awareness. So far we have reached 10% of our target!


We believe that we can really make a difference and share our passion for aviation along the way. This will be a fun filled activity that will span our country, create history and support a charity that is advancing towards a cure for cancer.

Email: womenpilotsrelay@gmail.com www.womenpilotsrelayblogspot.com.au www.facebook.com/WomenPilotsRelay
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Thursday, February 5, 2015

Genuine Southern Hospitality from the Froggies

Some aero clubs are just special.

Sometimes, the right blend of adventure, hospitality and fun come together to make a truly fabulous club. It doesn't matter what kind of aircraft are flown or whether the strip is grass or gravel - every now and then I come across a little piece of aero-heaven in the guise of a well loved aero club.

Just nine or so miles north of Merimbula, on the stunning Sapphire Coasts, between the highway and the go-kart track, lies the splendid grass strip and club house that is home to the Frogs Hollow Fliers http://www.frogshollowflyers.com.au

It's one of those clubs that has a perfect 'ma and pa' feel about it; a brass kettle on the stove, a giant barbecue outside ready for a zillion sausages (but not just sausages, there are meat patties too! And real tomatoes!) and a wonderful array of aircraft on the flight line: an AirCrusier, a Grumman Tiger, an Sportstar, a series of C182s (including our C182 OPA, my new challenge, owned by my dear friend Andrew who's game enough to let me fly it with him!) and of course, Drew and Neil's fabulous Falco.

The crew from Curtis Aviation flew down in a caravan of C182s and a Warrior. The Curtis flyaways are such an amazing experience for pilots, low hour and otherwise, to work in a team, fly in a crew, to learn from others and share experiences. I had the amazing fortune to participate in two of their air safaris when I was a student, and they changed the way I fly - in my approach to trip planning, dual pilot ops and in harnessing the organisational skills required to plan and enjoy long trips. And, back in the day, flight planning with paper, pencil and whizz wheel - before the days of my favourite tool - AvPlan.

And speaking of AvPlan, I was invited by the Frog's Hollow Fliers to present an AvPlan demo at the club. Now, I don't want to pick favourites, but I just want to say that this was the most engaged, attentive and friendly audience I've had in all my demos (and this was my fourteenth demo!)

So much has been written about the decline of the aero club, and I agree with nearly all of it. There is nothing finer than a day out with a group of like minded individuals that may very well share very different views on life (politically, socially, etc - certainly in my case!) but are united by their love of aviation. I love the way aviation allows me to meet people I'd never meet in other walks of life (my friends are artists, musicians and writers); allows conversations of the sort I would never have in everyday life (most of my friends wouldn't recognise a magneto if it painted itself purple and danced naked across the table) and introduces me to a world I would have never otherwise known.

And nowhere have I had a welcome as warm and as generous as that I received last weekend at Frogs.

Now, I'm going to get back to googling 'holiday properties in Merimbula' and 'how to make more money without selling your kidney'...