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


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'...

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