Back To It After 9 Years

Last edited: 1 June 2021, 3:25pm

Words & Images: Stuart Jennings

When I was growing up, I got the opportunity to fly in a small aircraft. Ever since, I have wanted to fly one myself. As an adult, a newly wed and waiting for our first child, the passion was getting too great to ignore. We had no money or time due to farm commitments but with my wife’s support, I headed off for a TIF.

Although I could only fly every fortnight, it seemed to take longer than it should have. I progressed through my training, gaining my pilot certificate and my PAX endorsement.

The day I did the flight test for my PAX, my instructor informed me he was moving home to WA. As all of my training had been in Victoria at YLTV, I couldn’t see how I was going to continue training with him. Reluctantly, I joined the local club to continue my training.

This meant an aircraft change - from a Jabiru J160 to a Tecnam - and a change of instructor. Actually, 2 instructors. One of them was extremely laid back and would let me fly the aircraft and just give pointers when needed. I really liked this approach as it gave me a chance to get into the aircraft. The other instructor was straight out of the military. Although a seemingly nice guy on the ground, as soon as you became airborne everything you did was shouted at you. You were expected to fly to exact points, having your bank angle at 30 degrees no matter what. Needless to say, I didn’t gel with the second of the 2 instructors. Unfortunately, the 1st instructor had other things going on and often wouldn’t be able to make bookings.

I lost a bit of the love for flying in this time, coupled with money getting tighter. After taking on more of a management role on the family farm, I stopped flying. I let my licence and memberships expire. I always had the intention of revisiting it one day when circumstances had changed.

9 years later now with 3 growing children, I had started watching a few YouTube videos that involved flying around the outback. I felt the urge to fly once again growing. To try and scratch the itch, I purchased a new computer that could run the latest and greatest flight simulator. It was great to be able to try things I would never try in the J160 in an environment with no consequences, but it still isn’t the same as being in the aircraft yourself.

So, I started looking into what it would take to get my licence back. To my delight, I found my hours and training still counted for something, this made me excited. I reactivated my licence immediately. Around the same time, I was looking into my local RAAus schools in order to get back into the air. I discovered a new school had opened at YLTV a couple of years after I had given up. It was COVID times when I first started looking, so no one was flying.

A quick phone call to Blue Sky Flight Training and I was back into it. I was nervous but excited getting back into the air after so long out of it, I was amazed how much I could remember.

I have started studying for my Navigation. We flew from YLTV to YYRM and my instructor Phil has said I’m ready to start flying myself again, back at it after 9 years out of the aircraft.

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