Thursday, 14 June 2012

Stretching my wings.

After my rant from the other day I shall get back to the story of me and flying.

Twelve months had passed since gaining my commercial pilots licence. By now I was expecting to be flying everyday and flirting with female flight attendants by night, not stacking shelves six days a week. There had been a hiatus in my career and something needed to change. I had been working to a plan that had involved working in the supermarket to save money before a great northern Australian adventure. Unfortunately a nineteen year old and his money are easily parted, especially when out drinking at the weekend. As I said something had to change.

 In Australia as a new pilot looking for a career you have two real choices. Choice one; hang around the capital cities, become a flying instructor and hope you get some passenger carrying work (charter work). Choice two; head north and hope to gain work carrying tourists and locals around the Northern Territory. I am an ex-Pom and hated heat, so choice one it was.

A friend of mine was about to start training as a flight instructor and they had space for another on the course. I wasn't sure how me and teaching people to fly would go, but I wanted to fly so much the better if someone else was paying.   The flight Instructors rating took eight weeks, maybe more, of full time study. We practised giving ground lectures to each other, and lessons in the aircraft. I am not sure who decided it was a good idea to let us practise in the air with each other. I certainly never came across a student as woefully inept as we were when playing students. Eventually we were finished and now qualified flight instructors, very scary, we could now teach others to fly. However, even with a new addition to my license I was still unemployed. But not for long.

The flying school I had been training with had a joy flight business located on Victoria's Great Ocean Road, and had a vacancy. The pay was poor, well very poor but it was that elusive foot in the door and my career could begin. Apollo Air was great. I lived in a tent on the airfield over a fantastic summer. I was given a free run to chase up business and run the show, all I had to do was pay the cash in at the end of the week. It wasn't a busy job, and I was lucky to do 10 hours flying a week, but it was fun and I was getting paid to sit in the sun and fly. Soon summer was over and the business would close for the winter, fingers crossed there would be a vacancy for me back at the main base.

It may seem above that my motives to become a Flying Instructor were not the greatest.  I was in it for me and for my career.  However over the next five years I loved every moment of teaching others to fly, and was said when it would eventually come to and end, even now eleven years later I still miss it.

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