Tuesday, 12 June 2012

Learn to fly

Most life defining moments can be easily remembered.  I don't remember mine.  It happened when I was three years old.  I flew in a plane for the first time.  We lived in England and Dad had been asked to come to Australia for a year to work at his companies head office.  It must have been something about 20+ hours in a 747 that gave my life direction forever.  For as long as I can remember I wanted to be a pilot, and through fortune and a little hard work that is the path I have been able to follow.

Today my blog will take a quick look at the start of my flying journey.  I had always wanted to fly but it was always a dream.  A chance advert in a school news letter led to my first lesson.  A local flying school ran a flight camp to immerse young minds in flying.  I was 16 years old and very nervous the first time.  I think I was more worried that after thirteen years of dreaming it wouldn't be what I was hoping it would be when I took to the air in that little Cessna 150.  I shouldn't have worried.  Thirty minutes was all it took for a life time addiction to truly take hold.  I new there and then I would get my pilots licence.

Everybody said you had to be smart to be a pilot.  They said you had to work hard at school.  They said you had to be good at Maths and Physics.  I can tell you now, they were wrong.  Don't miss understand me, when it comes to intelligence I have some game.  I can add and subtract, and passed high school physics, in fact I worked very hard at school.  What I will tell you, and anybody else who asks, is  you need commitment and determination, lots and lots of it (and a bucket load of money as well).

Once I finished high school I spent a year full-time studying and under taking flying lessons.  It was a fantastic year.  The day I was sent solo for the first time was magic.  I can still remember my instructors words "I hate your shirt, I'm getting out".  The company I was training with taught me a lot about the harsh realities of aviation and how not to run a business.  We were blessed though with some truly fantastic and dedicated instructors who became great role models to me.  Even though they were often shown the rough end of the pineapple they worked hard teaching me all I needed to know (I still see some of them around the traps as I fly and always say hi).  I made some great friends, all who have gone on to airline careers (despite being told by the owner we would all go nowhere).  I gained my commercial licence two months after my eighteenth birthday, three months before I passed my driving test.  This had been the easy part.

This story has far more to go but that's for another day, you'll just have to come back to read it.  Feel free to leave a comment about what your dream career is or was.

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