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


Wednesday, June 17, 2015

One week; three lovely birds!

My life has taken a very exciting turn: I have been offered and accepted a position at Cirrus Melbourne as Sales and Marketing Manager!

Suddenly, everything is Cirrus, and while the learning curve is huge, I have had the opportunity to learn on the job over the course of the last week. The first flight in an SR22 GTS to Wagga, detailed in the previous post, was the start of many more flights in many more Cirruses (I still like Cirri better as a plural).

For my second flight of the week, I was fortunate to be present for an 'acceptance' flight: a customer had purchased an aircraft from the factory and had it shipped to Blue Demon in Moorabbin for assembly. 

After the test fight and signing of documents, the aircraft was released and Regional Director Graham Horne and I conducted the acceptance. This involved checking each item - the doors, the air con, the anti-ice, the EVS camera, etc - were all in tip top working order. This aircraft, an SR22T, was top spec, and very very exciting, not to mention luxurious, to fly.

After the acceptance flight to the training area, where a few minor issues were noted, we refuelled and prepared to return the aircraft to Air Gold Coast, with Graham dropping me off at Bankstown on the way.

As this aircraft is turbocharged, and fitted with oxygen, we climbed up to FL170 for the return leg. Check out our TAS at 17,000ft! The trip between Moorabbin and Bankstown took an incredible 2 hours and ten minutes!

The following weekend, I was back in Melbourne for Avia's Cirrus Life open day. The first perk of the job - other than the privilege of working for a progressive, forward thinking company with the best selling piston aircraft in the world - is travelling everywhere by Cirrus! I felt like a celebrity as I waiting at the Bankstown passenger terminal for Graham to arrive with Avia's new Australis -  (so new it's still in N reg - N9ZN). 

In the passenger seat was Graham's son and co-pilot Benjamin, who as a fine young gentlemen, slipped into the back so I could take over as co-pilot. Once more, we had a lightening IFR trip to Moorabbin, at a little over two hours and fifteen minutes, with Benjamin in the back listening to his own iPod, whilst Graham and I shared tunes in the front.

With the weather gods on our side, Avia GM Shannon Taylor - a professional chef - fired up the barbecue. No soggy old snags for Avia, though: Shannon prepared steak and salad for the Avia audience, who turned out to admire Avia's new Australis. AvPlan, Jacobson Flare and Wingmate presented seminars, while Avia CEO conducted tours of the facility including the state of the art six axis simulator. The day was an enormous success, as I experienced the fear and fun combo of giving my first on-the-ground demo.

Like all good things, it was over all too soon. However, my fine fortitude continued for the remainder of the day, as Graham and Benjamin were returning the aircraft to Ballina, with myself as lucky passenger as far as Bankstown. It was passed last light when we arrived, and I experienced the glory of the SR22 by night, where the massive 12 inch screens are really seen to their advantage. Graham demonstrated a superb night landing, before refuelling and heading straight off for Ballina, leaving me on the ground in an absolute whirl.

Three Cirruses in one week! It doesn't get better than that!

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