TAFE Queensland works in partnership with Townsville Helicopters to deliver the Diploma of Aviation (Commercial Pilot Licence – Helicopter) (AVI50319) in North Queensland.
Mick Eden is a pilot and instructor at Townsville Helicopters, but his early career spanned across the defence force, farming and civil construction before taking off sky high.
"I had always wanted to be a pilot but considered it out of my reach. After the military, I achieved the confidence to take on anything so I gathered some funds together and went for it," Mick said.
"The self-worth after you've finished your training is just amazing. To be able to come in and jump in a helicopter, it really makes you feel great about what you've achieved to get there."
"Once you've got your licence there are so many different avenues available."
For Mick, piloting scenic and fishing tours and taking on instructor responsibilities was the next logical step.
"In one day I could be out on the reef looking for a sunken boat, chartering a VIP, conducting a low-level survey, and training students from a wide range of backgrounds."
"It's an unbeatable experience and to be honest, it doesn’t really feel like work. I can’t imagine doing anything else.”
Mick said it was rewarding to help students reach their aviation goals.
"About half your training to become a commercial pilot is gaining an understanding of the theory underpinning your flying and getting through the exams."
"The reward of being a part of a student's learning experience and seeing the hard effort pay off is second to none," Mick said.
"At times it can be challenging applying certain learning requirements to different individuals but the harder it is, the greater the reward."
Mick said North Queensland was the perfect place to learn to fly.
"We’ve got some beautiful spots here in Townsville. Taking in Magnetic Island from the air, or landing on a sand cay out in the Great Barrier Reef, it’s pretty exceptional flying around here."
Mick had this advice for anyone considering a career as a helicopter pilot.
"The first step is to call and chat with the team. We are more than willing to guide you on your path and explain the process and how achievable it really is," Mick said.
"Students with a dream to become a pilot also have the determination to get through it. You'll never know if you don't try."
Successful completion of the six-month Diploma of Aviation (Commercial Pilot Licence – Helicopter) (AVI50319) will qualify you to work as a commercial helicopter pilot.