An Army Blackhawk helicopter landing on his high school oval was all it took for Phil Carpenter to know what he wanted to do with his life.
Today the Griffith aviation graduate can’t go a day without feeling the rush of being in the air and taking control of the helicopter.
“Getting to do something that I enjoy for work takes a lot of the work out of it,” he said.
Phil now calls British Columbia, Canada his home after moving to pursue his career in aviation.
Working as a pilot for Great Slave Helicopters, he is currently in Ontario, Canada helping to extinguish fires. But his work takes him right across Canada in various roles supporting mineral exploration, fire suppression and oil/gas maintenance.
Phil graduated from Griffith University with a Bachelor of Aviation in 2009 and has worked in many areas before making the trek overseas.
“I started as a co-pilot on fires in New South Wales, which led to my first Pilot in Command job in the Torres Strait,” he said.
“After that I lived in the Whitsundays flying tourists on scenic trips, before moving to Canada in 2012.”
Phil initially wanted to join the Army after seeing the Blackhawk helicopter during a high school visit. However his eye sight hindered his chances so he joined the Infantry in the Army Reserve with the view of transferring into Army Aviation once he completed his degree at Griffith.
“But I enjoyed flying on the fires so much that I continued to pursue that as a career path instead” he said.
“In Canada the country is very inaccessible so helicopters are used for pretty well everything, so there is a lot of variety here.
“Every tour is different, but I get to see some amazing sights such as mountains and arctic tundra, bears and herds of caribou, fires as far as the eye can see and diamond mines. Being in the air is the best way to see them.”
Phil would recommend the life of a pilot to anyone who is up for a challenge.
“We get to see parts of the world that most people never experience,” he said.
“Most of the people we work with are of the same mindset and there are definitely a few characters in this industry.”