Student pilots continue flight training during COVID-19

Rosie Martin and Matilda Sandell have their sights set on becoming commercial pilots.

Griffith aviation students continue to take flight despite COVID-19 as training continues throughout the pandemic.

Rosie Martin.

Although planes around the world may be grounded, forward-thinking and optimistic Graduate Diploma of Flight Management students Rosie Martin and Matilda Sandell were ecstatic Griffith allowed them to continue with their training.

Both have now completed a Bachelor of Aviation at Griffith and are confident that despite the current aviation downturn, they will be able to follow their dream career path.

“I believe that the demand for pilots will be greater than ever after COVID-19,” Rosie said.

“While COVID has made us appreciate what’s on our back doorstep, I think most of the population will be pining for a holiday by the end of it.”

Matilda agreed with Rosie and said there were many people who had cancelled holidays or not seen their families throughout the pandemic.

“Aviation, like the rest of the global economy, will need some time to rebuild.”

“When aviation comes back, it is going to boom,“ Matilda said.

Professor Tim Ryley.

Rosie also said many of the senior pilots she knew had opted to retire, leaving a gap for younger pilots to take to the sky.

“The shortage that was present before COVID-19 will have only dramatically increased afterwards,” she said.

Head of Griffith Aviation Professor Tim Ryley said many parts of the aviation industry had been “badly” impacted by COVID-19, but took the actions of major airlines continuing to train pilots as a positive sign.

“It is too early to tell what the future of aviation will look like but it will certainly emerge very differently and in a learner form,” Professor Ryley said.

“..there is still long-term demand for pilots”

“However, there is still long-term demand for pilots.”

“One example is that Qantas are still investing in their pilot training academy, even during a period of severe financial distress.”

Matilda Sandell.

Professor Ryley said Graduate Diploma of Flight Management flight training continued throughout 2020 through Basair at Archerfield Airport, with appropriate COVID-19 hygiene practices.

Matilda was always destined to fly, as her great-uncles were pilots in World War II and her father an avionics engineer.

“There is something magical about being in the sky, and it is truly an amazing experience to fly a plane yourself,” she said.

“I always loved air travel and what I loved even more was Dad taking me flying in his Piper Warrior.”

Rosie, on the other hand, always had an interest in aviation but never thought seriously of it as a career until a life-changing event.

“Halfway through Year 12 I had a serious skiing accident and realised that life can turn upside down in a second,” Rosie said.

“I also realised that I’ve got to have a job I absolutely love, so I put all fears aside and chose to study aviation.

“This by far was the best decision I ever made. “

The women are confident, despite the period of uncertainty, they will have careers as commercial pilots one day.

“Growing up I always wanted to fly for the air force, but I am actually too short, (however) now it is my dream to be a commercial pilot,“ Matilda said.

“I might have to wait a little bit longer to sit in the left-hand seat of an A380, possibly beginning my career somewhere different entirely, but I know I will get into that seat someday.”