My name is Erin, and I was born and raised in country South Australia. My story is a little different - I grew up with a debilitating fear of flying. It began when I was around 9 years old, and up until the beginning of 2020 I still couldn’t step foot anywhere near an airport or plane without suffering panic attacks so bad that I could no longer breathe.
My fear of flying slowly began to take experiences and joy out of my life, replacing
them with anxiety and panic - but in January 2020 I decided to re write my story once
and for all. My husband has always wanted to learn to fly, and so I followed him along to an
information session at a flight school on the beautiful Sunshine Coast - Queensland.
I suddenly felt a wave of courage and booked in for a trial flight - just to see if I was
brave enough to do it.
The day of the trial flight came around, and I mentally quit 1000 times before walking
out to the apron, heart racing, to step in the plane. I was extremely nervous for the entire flight, but I DID IT. And something happened to me during that 45 minutes. Something changed inside of me. I felt a sudden wave of courage wash over me, and the beginnings of a passion that I never knew could exist. When we landed, I had already decided - this is what I wanted to do now. I wanted to learn to fly.
And so, I did. Two weeks later I had my very first lesson. And I’ve never looked back!
I currently hold my Recreational Pilot Certificate, along with my Navigation and
Passenger endorsements. I am currently waiting for paperwork (while building
hours!) so that I can get started with my next phase of training - converting my
licence to an RPC and doing some controlled airspace training.
This will open up so many cool places to fly into, and I’m very excited to get started!
Eventually I will go on to do my CPL so that I can pursue the career that I want.
The entire training process was a challenge for me, as I was dealing with extreme
anxiety and fear alongside it. I still have a lot of issues around confidence and self-
belief, which impact training and progress, and the best way I have found to
overcome these obstacles is to give myself time, not rush through any stage of
training before I am ready, and to remember to enjoy the little wins along the way!
I think that no matter what the obstacle, it can always be overcome with patience and
kindness towards yourself. It isn’t a race, there is no finish line. You just keep trying,
keep learning, and have a lot of fun along the way.
Everyone deals with failure and disappointment. We don’t all learn things in the one
lesson. We are going to have different strengths and weaknesses. The important
thing is to remember that we are all unique, and we can help and learn from each
other, and give a helping hand where needed. Of course, all of this is much easier said than done sometimes, but as long as you keep putting one foot in front of the other, you are bound to reach your goal eventually!
I started my Instagram page to help hold myself accountable, and keep track of my
progress, and it has turned into an incredibly supportive community of people that
genuinely want to see me succeed. I’m very grateful for this, and it has kept me
going through some very difficult periods of time.
My goal is to work for the Royal Flying Doctor Service. I have always wanted to work with them - I even studied Paramedics with the hope of becoming a flying medic, but now that I can fly, I want to fly their planes and contribute that way instead. For me, there is no better feeling than working with a company where you feel you are giving back in a meaningful way.
I have always valued the work that the RFDS do in the community, and having a
schedule that is not fixed appeals to me. I would like a role that takes me to different
places, provides a challenge, and allows me to work with other inspiring people.
I would also like to create and run my very own program to beat fear of flying,
drawing upon my own experience with this, and really connecting with others who
are looking to overcome the same thing.
Having said this, I do allow my future goals to remain flexible, to make sure that I’m
not so focused on one thing that I end up missing other opportunities along the
If there’s one thing I’ve learned since the beginning of all of this, it is that you never
quite know what is just around the corner!
Thank you for reading my story