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Taylah earns her wings after conquering her fear of flying

Taylah Lappin, 19, just earned her commercial pilot's licence. But most of her life she feared flying until one captain put her at ease and changed her journey forever.

“I had quite a bad fear of flying up until I was around 15, I was always interested in planes and loved watching them, however I hated flying,” said Taylah.

“However that all changed when I was on a family holiday to Christchurch and as we disembarked and approached the front of the aircraft the captain asked if I wanted to go into the cockpit and see everything – which I think anyone would agree is a pretty cool opportunity.”

“He let me test a few buttons and explained how a few things worked. It was a pivotal moment in my life where I realised that planes weren’t as terrifying as I had always thought and I was curious to find out more.”

After finishing high school, Taylah wasted no time and went straight on to study the Diploma of Aviation (Commercial Pilot Licence - Aeroplane) (AVI50219) through TAFE Queensland, delivered in partnership with Airways Aviation on the Gold Coast.

“TAFE Queensland offered a course that suited what I was looking for and provided me with the opportunity to complete my commercial licence with access to VET Student Loans,” she said.

“Every day brought with it a new challenge and I enjoyed how dynamic the course was. There’s always something new to learn and always something more to challenge yourself with. It’s incredibly rewarding as you continuously achieve small goals.”

“It gave me the ability to build up my flying hours and gain the initial qualifications required to secure an entry level job.”

To date Taylah has over 150 hours of flight experience in two types of aircrafts, and still recalls that first solo flight.

“The first solo is definitely a special memory, no other feeling quite like flying a plane by yourself for the first time,” she said.

“It’s quite nerve-racking when your instructor gets out to send you off solo. I remember it really hitting me mid-circuit when I looked across and realised the seat next to me was empty.”

“It’s was a proud moment and I had an amazing sense of achievement after I landed, along with a big wave of relief that I was back on the ground!”

In the long term, Taylah’s goals are to work for a commercial airline on international flights and she hopes to encourage more women in aviation.

“It was nice to have one other female in my course at TAFE Queensland, as well as two female instructors from Airways Aviation, however we also had a great group of males that were incredibly supportive”

To other women who are considering a career in aviation, Taylah said to not be put off by the thought of possibly being the only female in the room.

“You will more than likely find yourself surrounded by an incredible group of people who will support you the whole way, regardless of gender. Women in aviation is a growing culture and community, whilst it has challenges, it also has great rewards.”

And to anyone thinking about studying aviation Taylah said to look no further than TAFE Queensland on the Gold Coast.

“If you’re after a Diploma of Aviation and wanting to gain a commercial licence with access to student loans, then the TAFE course is a great option,” she said.

“And how amazing to be able to train on the Gold Coast and see the coast line from above, we were very lucky to have such a beautiful scenic training area. The view never gets old.”

TAFE Queensland’s Diploma of Aviation (Commercial Pilot Licence - Aeroplane) (AVI50219) gives students the skills and experience to take their career to new heights with a mix of theory and practical hands-on training.

Graduates gain knowledge and practical skills to perform normal and emergency flying techniques as well as preparing them for a career in a broad range of aviation pathways including air charter, aerial application, tourism, regional airlines, aeromedical, search and rescue, air freight, aerial survey and even defence.