LTF student Balendran Thavarajah has just successfully completed his first solo flight. We thought it would be a great idea to share his flight story, to show you that it is possible to juggle a busy professional and family life with your dream of learning to fly.
LTF: You’re currently completing your RPC – what’s your end goal with flying?
Balendran: In the short term, I would like to complete my RPC with passenger and cross-country endorsements. Ultimately, I want to obtain a Private Pilot Licence.
What made you want to learn how to fly?
I was fascinated by planes and the idea of an aircraft moving through the air. As a kid, I wanted to be a fighter jet pilot but, growing up in Northern Sri Lanka during a prolonged civil war provided no such opportunities. After arriving in Australia, I realised that private aviation was not for the privileged alone.
Last year, I finally made the plunge. I am so close to fulfilling my dreams, and I could not be happier. Eventually, I would love to take my daughter around Australia and I feel that is not too far away. Flying with my family in our own aircraft is my next big goal. I guess, now I am a step closer to achieving that goal.
What do you love most about flying?
I love all aspects of flying. From the feeling of being high up in the air in a lightweight aircraft to the sound of propellers, and the way the plane responds to the movement of controls. Every single flight still amazes me.
It is an incredibly relaxing and crazily exciting feeling. I fly on the weekend and it makes my weekend super fun. My instructor Anurag is great and he has made the learning experience very enjoyable. I have been thoroughly enjoying the theoretical side as well as the actual flying. Early morning flights from Moorabbin to Tooradin airport and back on a winter day is unbelievably calming and the views along the shorelines are breathtaking.
If you were given the opportunity to fly any aircraft you wanted, what would be your first choice and why?
It would have to be the Piaggio P.180 Avanti. I am a big fan of anything unconventional. Can’t go past the unique and efficient design of an Avanti. Avanti uses turbine power to rotate the propellers and boasts three surfaces that produce lift. The main wing, front wing, and the tail. On a conventional aircraft, the wings are the primary lift producers.
Tell us a bit about what you do outside of flying
I am a technology executive and lead a busy life. Being the best Dad, I can be to my 9-year-old daughter and managing my work commitments keep me fully occupied. In that sense, I am not the typical learner that a school like Learn To Fly would attract. Apart from flying, I do love roller skating, movies, Stand up comedy, Rugby League, reading and long rides on my motorcycle.
How do you find juggling your busy life with learning to fly, and what advice would you give to other FT professionals and/or people with families wondering whether they will be able to do it?
Juggling family and work priorities with your hobbies can be a challenge. I knew from the beginning, being disciplined with my time management was the key. It has taken me 10 months to get my first solo flight, because I was time poor. I had to take my daughter to the flying school on some weekends. While I flew, she would stay back at the office and get through her homework.
The most important thing is to establish some basic goals; in my case it was to fly a couple of times a month on the weekends. That was the goal I set for myself and I got stuck into it. Once I got going, everything fell in to place. The school was flexible and made it easier for me to complete my exams and the required hours of flying at my own pace.
My Dad told me if he waited for the right time, he would not have had me and I would not be here today. This applies to anything in life. The right time may never arrive for anything you want to do. If flying is something you want to do, the right time is right now and you will make time for it.
Balendran leads a busy professional life as Chief Technology Officer of Bluedot. Bluedot has rapidly grown from its humble beginning to being a very serious player in the global mobile location services marketplace. The product Bluedot offers is cutting edge, truly innovative and ahead of its time. Balendran has had a very exciting career so far at some of Australia’s reputable organisations. He is passionate about growing and developing people.
Prior to Bluedot, he held senior roles at Standards Australia, Centrelink, Soul and TPG. Balendran is also an Associate Lecturer at the Western Sydney University.