Age: 21 years
When did you train at Beckers? May 2011 to December 2011
Why helicopters? I started out flying fixed wing when I was in high school but I decided flying helicopters would be much more fun as a job because they can do so many different things.
Biggest challenge in training and why? Navigation. My first flight was ok but I couldn’t keep straight and level while doing everything else. Then on my second flight my map was sucked out the door! We were flying VH-UTX and as we took off I put my map beside my seat and heard a strange noise. I didn’t think anything of it until we were approaching Caloundra and I went to grab the map but I couldn’t find it anywhre. So I had to land at Caloundra and quick re-draw everything on Jimmy’s (Instructor) map and keep going.
Most memorable flight? In my last few hours I did a flight to Brisbane and landed in a friend’s backyard. I didn’t do sling training so I had about 15 hours left at the end where I could choose what flights I wanted to do and I thought it would be a good experience to do something different. I spent awhile planning the flight because I orginally wanted to land in a park near my old house in Brisbane but then I found out how annoying it was to get approval from the Council after speaking to them on the phone. So I had a look at a few friend’s yards until I found one big enough. All the neighbours came to watch me land and it was great fun.
What did you do after you finished training? I finished training just before Christmas so I had a bit of a break until January, then I got my R44 endorsement and headed on a trip up north looking for work. I spoke to a few operators around Cairns then went to Darwin and Katherine, but because it was wet season most of the operators told me to come back in a few months. So I headed on another trip at the start of April from Darwin to Broome. Along the way I heard from another pilot that a company in Broome was looking for pilots since a few people has just moved on. So I gave them a call and arranged an interview and I’ve been working there ever since.
What are you doing now? I’m now a pilot for Broome Helicopter Services doing mostly scenic flights around the area.
Advice to those learning to fly? Just relax, they’re (choppers) actually easy to fly but it can be difficult to start with if you make it difficult.
Advice to those looking for work? Go out and see people as soon as you’ve finished training or even before you finish if you can so you’re still fresh and you can remember everything. I had a few months break after finishing school and forgot a lot in that time. And make sure you actually speak to people in person and be prepared to start work immediately. Where I work now there are always pilots sending emails asking for work, saying how good they are but only one person besides me made the effort to come here and now they have a job as well.
Where do you see yourself in 5 years? Flying overseas somewhere, maybe Canada or New Zealand.
Final words? Have fun while you’re at school and make the most of it, as Rob (Gibb) one of my instructors said “getting your licence is the easy part!”Share