Cahill Stevens YG 2012

Having some failures along the way is considered fairly normal for a Pilot in training. As a Pilot you are always learning; you learn from your mistakes and keep working to achieve your goal. A skill that is important in both the workplace and school.

I had the opportunity to return to Tintern in 2015 during my final year of my degree speaking with the Year 10 and 11 students about Aviation. I focused on how piloting could be rewarding a career path, particularly for girls. We had identified there is a shortfall of women in this field, and this initiative was a part of a ‘Promoting Women in Aviation’ study we were presenting to Schools in Eastern Melbourne and Swinburne University.

 Initially my career as a Pilot started as a courier driver with TasFast, the freight arm of Vortex Air. It was a chance phone call to a friend that led to this opportunity. My job was to collect freight from around Melbourne, deliver to Tullamarine or Moorabbin for distribution locally and globally. This gave me a great insight into logistics and, after 18 months, the company ‘gave me a shot’ on some training flights where I was accepted to fly for Vortex.

I began single pilot flights at night over the Bass Strait taking freight to mainland Tasmania and King Island. Starting as a single pilot in a small twin engine aircraft over Bass Strait at night is daunting to say the least! You face adverse weather and flying conditions, possibly not experienced in other flying roles. Six months later I was upgraded to a passenger pilot, flying Golfers to some of the best courses in Australia, as well as fire fighter transport throughout Victoria during our fire season. Within 12 months I was given the opportunity to fly the Beech 1900 as a First Officer, and within 6 months of that I was upgraded to Captain.

The aviation industry is a very tight knit community. Networking is best done by maintaining good relationships, positive Airman-ship and talking with people you’ve met along the way. People you train with, instructors who trained you or colleagues are always on different pathways and therefore hold valuable information that you may not have.

I find the best skill is the ability to be flexible. You may not always have opportunities to do things your way which can be challenging, but if you can master flexibility, you’ll really be able to manage challenging environments. I’ve had a few challenges in my short time flying; storms, emergencies and failures, through to sick passengers. These all add to the experience bank and make me better prepared for the future. My goal is to one day be a Captain with Qantas and I believe my current role is really setting me up for a great future in this field.

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