Received October 2014

The idea of learning to fly is daunting but exciting at the same time. It is something I toyed with doing for years - and at 32 I finally decided to make a phone call and get started.

I chose to call John Walmsley at Coominya Flight Training as I'd come across him when writing a story on a Flying Doctors fundraiser some years ago. The choice turned out to be a good one - John makes the daunting part of learning to fly disappear.

His relaxed approach to each lesson, from the daily inspection of the Lightwing aircraft to introducing each new manoeuvre or procedure, kept me relaxed as I learned.

So much so, I didn't notice my skills were building until suddenly I was taking off, completing circuits, making my own radio calls and landing, all without John having to take control.

It is a credit to John that my learning to fly felt this way - he gradually introduced new skills keeping me in a constant learning state. As soon as I started feeling comfortable with a procedure another would be added. This happened so smoothly I didn't realise until reflecting later.  Right now I am learning how to deal with emergencies (engine failure) in the circuit area and working on increasing my skills to a level where I am capable of going solo.

The journey to date has been thoroughly enjoyable, very exciting and only possible thanks to an instructor whose style works very well for me.

Adam Byatt


Received: Monday, 22 December 2014 email

Hi John,

Not sure if you will remember me but I did some flight training with you back in 2007-2008 when I was living with my wife and daughter in Laidley.  We had moved over from NZ for a role on the Wedge-tail project at Amberley and I did about 15 hours with you in the lightwing.  We moved back to NZ so I could pursue a flying career and I am happy to say it has worked out well for us. I completed my CPL in Feilding as well as an instructors course and did some teaching of my own before getting a role as a Co-Pilot in a Chieftain doing Air Ambulance fligts.  I have been with Eagle Airways in Hamilton for the last 2 1/2 years as a First Officer on the B1900D. I have just been awarded a Command and begin my training in March.

I just wanted to say how much I enjoyed my few hours with you at Coominya.  I look back with fond memories of my time in the Lightwing and everything you taught me, much of which I carry with me today.  Hope you guys have a great Christmas and I will have to get back over there and come out for a fly again one day soon.


Bevan Lewell