Friday's Fabulous Flyer
"Never lose sight of your dreams
and feed your passion."
"My journey began longer ago than I can remember. To fly was all I ever wanted to do. 28 years ago at the age of 19, I strapped myself into a Hughes 269 (Yes I started on Choppers) and why not? They were fun to fly. I took to it like a duck to water. The following year I converted to fixed wing flying Piper Cherokees and Warriors soloing in 2 hour. Along the way I flew a myriad of different types and makes including Gliders and Gyrocopters. And then it happened. As quick as lightening, I blew my eardrum.
Now on the great scheme of things this doesn't sound like a huge medical disaster. However, for me it was just the start of a HUGE journey of faith. I lost my medical while the professionals delved into the problem. 2 operations later I was on the mend. I had a 5 year hiatus while things healed. I was now married and had 2 wonderful children. Time and money was a factor, however it did give my ear chance to heal. I started to feel the pull of my home again, so I started to fly with others to ease into it.
I was able to do quite a bit of flying even some aerobatics with the Royal New Zealand Airforce. The time felt right. By this stage a few more years had gone by. I was now divorced and living with a new partner so it was time for new beginnings. In 2008 I decided to do my multi-engined instrument rating. I passed my commercial medical (Yay first hurdle cleared). I passed my exams (2nd one done) and I was back in the air, my home, my comfort zone..... Then BANG it happened.
I was on a turning descent with an instructor on board when I felt the same ear let go again... this time I had managed to dislodge the drum from the membrane behind it and it stretched the nerves that help carry the sound to the Cochlea... That was it, medical gone again and I was grounded........ The thing is I have never lost my passion for aviation through the ups and downs, it is my addiction, my guilty pleasure, so I never stopped looking up.
I was talking to the instructor and he asked if I wanted to go for a flight. Now that was like asking a junkie if he wanted a free hit. The best part was he let me do the flying. I was home again. I felt at ease and best of all there was no pain in my ear. The best part, I was informed that I would have no problems passing my medical. How could this be? I thought. Well as fortune would have it the plane I was flying was a Tecnam P2002 Sierra a high performance sport aircraft, classified in NZ as a Microlight!
The medical is the same as if I wanted to drive a bus. It's a recreational license designed for experienced pilots who can no longer obtain the stringent GA medicals. BRILLIANT. I joined the club and was voted in as the Club Captain. I was now right seating with other club members to fly-ins around the country as well as left seating with an instructor to get my rating.
I passed all my exams again and I am once again a qualified pilot holding an advanced passenger rated license for high performance sport aircraft at the age of 47. One hell of a journey but I never lost sight of my goal. I am currently working through my instructors rating and purchase of my own aircraft so I can share my passion."
103 Reservoir Road