Thomas Hingley is still finishing his aviation degree, but this year landed a job flying in the NT.
Thomas Hingley is still finishing his aviation degree, but this year landed a job flying in the NT.

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.

Thomas Hingley in the Cesna 210
Thomas Hingley in the Cesna 210

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.

PAID TO FLY: Tom Hingley with the Cesna 210.
PAID TO FLY: Tom Hingley with the Cesna 210.

"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.”



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