Setting up for Aviation
by Gabriel Leung
UNSW student & Basair Aviation College graduate (officially a Commercial Pilot Licence holder)
Alumnus of SIGI Learners (HSC Chemistry, Physics, English)
How It All Took Off
From what I remember, the idea of being a pilot sparked around the time I was in year 6. Although remarkably, some friends have told me that I had mentioned it in year 4! It wasn’t until I entered year 8 that I decided on aviation as my profession and so began my research of said field. I knew neither anyone nor anything of aviation so there was a lot of googling along with frequent visits to my high school’s career advisor. It was the least known occupation but there were leaflets of an aviation course at Griffith University. This sparked the realization that aviation courses exist in university but are rare.
Throughout the next couple years, I’d research a bit in my free time and found a few universities and TAFE courses mainly across NSW but as well as other states. In year 10, I took the initiative to attend the UNSW Open Day to sit in the aviation seminars, which I revisited in my HSC year (I was a keen bean).
Further down the year, I attended a Career’s Expo where a flight school was advertising. We had a couple of chats and later into the week, they gave me the amazing opportunity to do my year 10 work experience with them and that allowed me to absorb the aviation environment and their means of operation.
There were many battles lined up in my journey towards and through the doors of aviation.
The first great lesson was independence. In my senior high school years, I soon came to realize how different or unique my passion was. Everyone I knew had a mutual friend who shared the same interest or was already studying said interest. In my family, I grew up with two older and very academic sisters who went to study medicine which immediately raised many questions among my parents’ friends as to whether I would continue this ‘streak.’
Over the next three years encapsulating 15 months of training where my perseverance was tested, I completed the program with a final strive of determination. Basair Aviation College finally moulded me into the pilot I am today with a Commercial Pilot License in my hand.
“Gliders, sailplanes, they are wonderful flying machines. It’s the closest you can come to being a bird.”
Tips for Aspiring Pilots in High School
TIP 1: In my experience, it’s never too early to start preparing.
TIP 2: Acquiring knowledge in aviation theory is equally as important as polishing your practical skills to handle an aircraft.
6. General Aircraft Knowledge (mechanical theory)
In my case, it was a very mathematical and science-based format of Advanced English, 4 unit Math, Physics and Chemistry. How typical am I right?
TIP 5: Studying ahead is another way to gain a better perspective into aviation and it’s a great feeling to nail your first exam. Basic Aeronautical Knowledge by Aviation Theory is a great book to start with.
Light reading for early exposure is very beneficial as you get a taste of what each of the seven topics involve and it might even grow your interest in aviation.
TIP 6: One accessible recreation is driving!
First time driving can be quite a nightmare so you can probably imagine the magnitude of handling an aircraft, which is why you would really want to build up those motor skills and hand eye coordination and motor skills, hence driving.
Why Do I Fly?
I never had the ‘need for speed’ sort of mindset or your usual “Top Gun” energy when I first started flying, in case some of you are wondering. But upon every accomplishment whether it be the next licence or aircraft endorsement, I gain a refurnished perspective of the ability that pilots have and even more so the gravity of responsibility they uphold.
I think I’m quite tame in a way. Every flight for me has that sort of mission vibe, like this is what we need to get done today. And knowing that I’m steering this flying machine that takes me where I need to be feels soothing. I think the opportunity that I have to see things from my view is something people rarely get to experience and this rarity, this gem, is just in the palm of my hand.
Up there, we hear the communication world in the sky: different aircrafts, ATC (Air Traffic Control) talking… it’s a very monitored space. There’s the hum of the engine….
That’s it! If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to reach out. Comment on the post and SIGI and I will both see it and answer you! All the best to all the aspiring pilots out there.
PS: Please spread this article to your friends who might be interested in flying + one last photo below of my training flights!
Until you spread your wings
you have no idea