Updated: 4 days ago
✦ After being awarded a flying scholarship from Hastings District Flying Club, Oliver (Ollie) Taylor chatted with us about what this means to him and his future.
When asked how he felt when he first found out he had been awarded the scholarship Ollie smiled and said, “I was having dinner with Mum and Dad, sitting there thinking I didn’t get it. Then the phone rang and it was Rod. He told me I got it, I was over the moon. Totally happy, I told my parents straight away. It was a great family moment.”
Ollie told us that it was a fairly simple online process to apply for the scholarship. Just fill out the online application form, stating why you love flying, provide your academic record and really show your desire to fly.
The Hastings District Flying Club (HDFC) is offering two $1,500 flying scholarships to promote aviation to the youths of the Hastings District. Application closes Tuesday 31st October 2023.
We have been given Ollie’s scholarship submission and have taken a snippet to share:
“I am very interested in WW2 (especially the aviation side of WW2), however my main hobby is aviation (of course). I spend most of my time at work or school, but when I am at neither, I like to watch aviation related movies, watch aviation related videos, plane spotting, and even designing model aeroplanes (even the sling) on fusion360.”
Having an interest in all things aviation goes all the way back to Primary School days for Ollie, who was 16 years when he was awarded the scholarship. Having a close friend who was in commercial aviation and a brother studying to be a Bachelor of Aviation at University, were definitely influences. Plus watching movies like Top Gun added to his interest and instilled in him that he was going to learn to fly one day.
He started his flying lessons at the tender age of 15 with his Mum and Dad's full support and encouragement. They paid for the initial tuition and drove him to and fro.
When interviewed, Ollie was in year 10 attending Hastings Secondary College Westport Campus where he planned to finish year 12 and obtain an ATAR. He will be studying standard English, advanced maths, PDHPE, physics, engineering studies, and graphics technology in his senior years.
Upon completing his schooling, Ollie intends to either obtain a Commercial Pilots Licence, join the AirForce as a pilot, or study Aerospace Engineering at University. Currently, he works alongside his parents Tania and Rob at the family business, Lighthouse Beach Post Office, as much as possible during school holidays and after school hours. This helps pay for Ollie’s flying.
Currently flying under the Hastings District Flying Club with Mike as his instructor, Ollie is passionate about flying. He has over 20 hours of flying up his sleeve and will have his Recreational Pilot Certificate soon if all goes to the youngster's plan. Ollie needs to complete various courses in the future, such as navigation training and passenger endorsement to edge him closer to getting a Recreational Pilot License.
Flying is definitely in this youngster's sights, either commercial or in the military, wherever it takes him he is happy.
Ollie’s Mum and Dad are very supportive, paying for half of Ollie’s flying lessons to date. This was a major factor for Ollie applying for the scholarship, to ease the financial burden on his parents. The HDFC scholarship will allow him to now assist in him completing courses and furthering his aviation career.
Ollie's First Solo Flight
At just 15, Ollie’s first maiden voyage so to speak has been a highlight of his life so far. During one of his flight lessons, instructor Mike told him he would be going solo soon. When he and Ray, CFI were happy with his progress, they will discuss it with him to do his first solo. When they landed, sure as eggs another instructor came out and jumped in the Sling2, HDFC's training aircraft.
Ollie remembers being very nervous, as he knew then and there that was the day he was going to do his solo flight if he did well with the other instructor (Ray, CFI) on board. He successfully completed three landings and takeoffs. When Ollie landed the third time, Ray exited the plane and said "off you go". So off he went - on 13th May 2021!
He says it was just like any other circuit he had done except now there was no one sitting next to him and that can be nerving.
Ollie highly recommends HDFC
If you want to learn to fly Ollie says to firstly join the Hastings District Flying Club.
“ It’s a good way to go. Very affordable for flying. Very good instructors. And the people around the club are really, really, really good. There are lots of people to talk to about flying.”
HDFC has a fantastic social scene as well that has given Ollie and family many fun times. He told us, “There are lots of social get-togethers. The presentation night was one of the best nights I've ever had. It was very, very good. The stories and experiences I heard were amazing.”
Ollie is working hard to complete his Recreational Pilot Certificate so he can fly by himself without an instructor.
"Our students always emerge more mature, disciplined, confident and responsible after they have gained their Pilot's Certificate. These characteristics stay with them for life and it sets them apart from others, even if they do not fly professionally. This is a wonderful privilege for every young individual. Our goal as a flying school is to produce GREAT and RESPECTED Pilots. We do this by ensuring total aviation safety and disciplined airmanship through accurate and professional flying training and Pilot Proficiency Days. We are second to none among all RA-AUS Flying Schools and General Aviation Schools." - Ray Lind, Chief Flying Instructor and Club Captain since 1990
The best thing about flying…
“Being out there. It's a different view of earth. It's unreal. Different than a commercial flight. It’s not the same. You are in a small plane, you can look out the window and you can have control,” Ollie said. “You’re in the air and you're in control in the air. It's just such a different feeling. You don't know the feeling till you are out there.”
To own his own plane, a classic Cessna. “I have to have room for passengers - Mum and Dad would be first in line,” Ollie said.
Learn to fly with HDFC
The Hastings District Flying Club (Port Macquarie Recreational Aviation) is a leader in Recreational Flying Training, specialising in professional pilot development since 1958.
The best way to experience what flying is all about is to buy a Discovery Voucher. With one of our professional flight instructors at your side, you will actually get to fly our Sling aircraft across the coast and town of Port Macquarie for $150.
During your 30-minute hands-on flight, you will learn the basics of taxiing, take-off and maintaining straight and level flight. Best of all, you can log the flight time in your pilot's logbook if you decide to continue flying training.
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