21-year-old student pilot lands a senior role in the NT
PILOT Tom Hingley might be finishing his aviation degree but that hasn't stopped him from landing a job.
Mr Hingley was part of the first cohort of aviation students who commenced their studies on-campus at USQ Springfield in 2016 and is now one of the first to secure full-time employment before graduating.
In February he moved to the Northern Territory and started working as a pilot with Katherine Aviation.
"I always wanted to be a pilot. From a young age it's always been a dream,” he said.
"The financial burden was difficult to work out.”
Luckily he was able to access a Higher Education Loan for the course and his flight training was covered with a VET student loan.
Most USQ Aviation students spend their first year on campus then undertake flight training in their second year to gain their commercial pilots licence, before spending a final year on campus.
But while Mr Hingley was completing flight training at Gold Coast Aviation he was offered a job.
"I knew the chief pilot personally,” he said.
He kept updating Katherine Aviation with his progress and the timing was right.
"It was pretty cool to get a job before I finished flight school. I was worried, a lot of pilots finish flight school...and most have to go rural. Everyone wants to be based in a capital city.”
Now he will finish his final year online while working.
Mr Hingley undertook training at Katherine in a Cessna 210, before being posted to Jabiru one month later.
"Jabiru is a mining town with 800 people. It's a bit of an adjustment,” he said.
"It's hard living conditions and three hours to get to Darwin.”
At Jabiru Mr Hingly does about 50 percent scenic flights in a Cessna 210 and 172 and 50 percent charter work flying people from teachers to nurses in a Baron BE58.
Recently he was offered the role of Senior Base Pilot and accepted.
He now oversees operations at the Jabiru base, including a team of three pilots and five aircraft.
"It's pretty unprecedented,” the 21-year-old said.
Mr Hingley said his five year goal was to be working in airlines.
But he loves his new job.
"It's just a really dynamic environment, it's always changing.
"Flying in the territory is fantastic. Flying across Arnhem Land is an eye opener.”