I loved aviation from the first chip

It all started with a bucket of hot chips and sitting at the local airport with my mother at the age of two just watching the planes take off and land. I vividly remember those afternoons at the airfield as being the spark that lit the fire of my passion for aviation.

Aviation has run through the veins of my family for generations, beginning with my great, great, great uncle who flew in the battle that took down the infamous red baron. As flight technology advanced so did the the level at which wars were fought and soon a further four members of my family flew for the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) and Royal Air Force (RAF), but there has since been a lengthy gap between then and now.

The aviation bug well and truly bit me on my 14th birthday when dad bought me my first ever flying lesson. Since the days with my mum I had been dreaming of being able to fly, and finally I lived that dream, just a little bit. I even got a turn on the controls.

As soon as we landed I insisted that I would absolutely need to go flying again, or I could quite possibly die (ok, not quite but it felt like it!). A few months later I went flying again and the passion was still there, it was just as exhilarating! The time periods between flights eventually got shorter and shorter, until they were almost a weekly ritual, but the feeling never got old.

By age 16 I had flown solo for the first time. It had just been a normal, repetitive day of circuits (take off, fly a circuit of the airfield, land), until on my second last loop around the airfield my instructor jumped on the radio to say he was going to jump out and ‘send his student for his first solo’. I could have jumped out of the plane and flown without it I was so excited, I was going for my first solo!

We landed soon after and I dropped my instructor off and then hurtled down the runway and took to the skies, 100% in control and on my own. It felt different. The aircraft was lighter and if things didn’t go to plan on the landing, there was no backup, just me. It was terrifying and exciting.

Flying is a truly indescribable feeling. It’s so much more than controlling a 1.2 tonne metal seagull, it’s freedom, an indescribable feeling.

– Lachie