Tim Hayman, 35, Air Gold Coast

As a child, looking up to watch planes soar over his Gold Coast home, Tim always knew his future would be in the sky. He completed his private pilot licence at Air Gold Coast, based at Gold Coast Airport, when he was in high school. Tim went on to study there full-time for his commercial pilot licence, then worked as a flight instructor at its pilot academy for six years. Since 2017, he has worked for QantasLink and is now a Boeing 717 captain, based in Melbourne.

Q. What led you to ultimately decide you wanted to be a pilot?

I have always wanted to be a pilot. My uncle was a Halifax (four-engine RAAF heavy bomber) pilot in World War II and my dad also had his private pilot licence in his younger years, so aviation was in my family. When I was a kid, my dad used to take me down to Gold Coast Airport to watch planes, which sparked my interest from a very young age.

Q. Apart from being so close to home, why was Air Gold Coast a good fit as your academy?

When I first showed up at Air Gold Coast in 2003, it was a very small flying school with just the manager, a chief flying instructor and two flight instructors. I loved the small flying club family feel of the place. I completed my private pilot licence there when I was in Year 11 at high school (Hillcrest Christian College), which was a good experience, and I returned in 2005 to complete my commercial pilot licence. Then I completed my flight instructor rating straight after and Air Gold Coast gave me a job. The team was always so professional and supportive. I always felt at home.

Q. Why did you feel the need to be an instructor yourself?

I think the positive experience of learning as a student from amazing flight instructors inspired me to be one myself. I found that teaching was a good way to continue my professional development, which in turn has made me a better pilot.

Q. What was life like for a student on the Gold Coast at that time? 

Honestly, it was the best environment. The relaxed culture of the Gold Coast mixed with the high standards and professionalism of the flying school made it an ideal place to study. And after a long day of training, the beach was always a short walk to go relax and unwind.

Q. Did it shape your life in a personal way?

Studying on the Gold Coast was a very social experience. A lot of the students and instructors I trained and worked with have become lifelong friends, who I still keep in contact with today.

Q. Do you have a favourite memory from your student days?

I used to love all the exploring we did during cross country navigation exercises. Every day we would be exploring new towns and stop there for lunch and some sightseeing. And the views as you arrived back to our home base at Gold Coast Airport were always memorable.

Q. So, would you recommend the Gold Coast to someone thinking about where to study?

Definitely. The relaxed culture makes the Gold Coast a very social place to connect to a lot of people and make new friends. It's also full of beautiful beaches, cafes, restaurants and nightlife.