A Discussion with Ali Wanchap

Congratulations to Ali Wanchap on becoming Australia’s newest commercial helicopter pilot.

Ali was once plugged into the big city fast lane working in PR and marketing for a major fashion label alongside Sydney’s social elite. A vacation to Africa changed that when she took a scenic flight in a helicopter. The experience reinforced what she had known for some time – she wanted to be a helicopter pilot.

Ali’s training wasn’t all plain sailing. Midway through her instruction and just prior to her first solo, the owner and Chief Pilot of the school she attends were both killed in a tragic R44 accident . This halted Ali’s training for a number of reasons – not the least of which was overcoming the physiological trauma associated with losing a mentor. However, despite the obstacle, Ali overcame her fears and qualified for her CPL at the end of 2011 (we spoke to her just a few days after).

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Ali talks to us about why she chose to fly helicopters (bypassing the traditional fixed-wing route), her training, losing her mentor in an accident, females in aviation… and we touch on a number of other topics.

We wish Ali all the best with her continued success.



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