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Safe, Supportive, Affordable, Fun Flying

Mitch's Trip


Mitch Boyle was only 16 years old when he decided to fly around Australia to raise money for an orphanage in East Timor.
This was his journey:

Mitch's question and answer session prepared for the adoring media.

1.     How long have you been flying,  Mitch?

I have wanted to fly from as young as I can remember, in fact I can remember telling my parents that I wished I was a bird.  From about age 5 or 6  I began joy flights in light aircraft and micro lights, when I was about 10 I started my flight training in a recreational aircraft.  Not being able to solo until I was 15 was a long wait, but on my 15th birthday after completing all necessary exams I went solo. Since then I have obtained my full recreational license and can fly anywhere in Australia.  I can take friends for joy flights anytime.  I am now completing my private pilots license and my commercial pilots license through TAS.  It is important when you first start to learn to fly to enjoy yourself and its just as important to have good flying instructors. My flying instructor Alan Lindsay from Merimbula Air Services is a fantastic instructor and now Armidale airways for TAS are pretty good.


2.     What made you want to take on flying around Australia?

I was flicking through an aviation magazine and I noticed an article on the Fly Away to Heaven charity who were organizing a flyathon around Australia to raise money for children in orphanages in East Timor.  While reading about Baguia orphanage which has 50 boys and girls ranging from 6-16 years old, they are housed in two dormitories approximately 4m x 4m, it certainly made me think about the fortunate life I have had so far.  We take for granted the way we can walk into a supermarket, if we are not well we can go to the doctor or hospital, our career possibilities are limited only by our imagination.  Did you know none of these children have ever eaten a chocolate frog or ice cream?

I knew this was something I could do to help.


3.     Tell us about the charity you were raising funds for?

In March 2004 Fr. John Fowles a priest from Albury was donated a $70,000 Jabiru kit plane.  It took 3 years to build, during this time Fr. John developed the concept of flying his plane and inviting other pilots to join him in a flight around Australia for a charity event raising money for orphanages in East Timor one of the poorest countries in the world and our nearest neighbour.  Funds raised will go towards new buildings for the orphanages, road maintenance and for new trucks to transport the children the 5 hour trip to the city if needed.

The charity required each participating pilot to raise $1,000 for entry to the flyathon and to pay their own costs for accommodation and fuel.   So I started door knocking, I targeted business, church groups and schools, with the help of some great publicity I managed to raise nearly $8,000.  the group on a whole during the flyathon raised just over $200,000 it was a fantastic effort.  My bank account is still open for donations it is:  Mitch Boyle fly away to heaven a/c  ANZ  523529042.


4.     How many other planes were involved in the fly round Australia.  How many made it.


There were 11 planes that joined Fr. John for the whole trip and a few others for short legs.  They were great we all got on very well.  We usually flew in pairs so that if something happened we would always have someone close by.  I was paired with Stephan a German guy who bought his plane and was endorsed in Australia just for the flyathon.  Even though I was the youngest pilot on the trip none of the other pilots made me feel like a 16 year old.  In fact one even made a comment that he learnt a lot from me.  I think we all learnt a lot from each other.


5.     Tell us about some of the amazing things you saw from the air?

While I have been fortunate enough to have seen a fair bit of Australia while caravanning with my parents, nothing compares to seeing it from the air.  As I left Merimbula to join the start in Albury flying over the Snowy Mountains was amazing.  The Nullabor seems long and boring when sitting in a car for hours but when looking at it from above its pretty awesome.  Perth and the West Coast were beautiful while the waterfalls in the Kimberly’s were spectacular, but I think the most amazing scenery was the rainforests coming into the gold coast from the west.  When we pass Sydney we fly at 500 feet under the Sydney airport traffic just out to sea straight past the cliffs of Sydney heads and that’s pretty spectacular.


6.     Obviously there were problems along the way, what happened.?


Having enough fuel to get between stops in remote areas proved to be a  problem, I had to find farm strips that had fuel in drums for me to refuel.  This took a lot of forward planning and phone calls to ensure availability of fuel.   I also needed to make a landing at a remote aboriginal community about 100k south of Broome this was because I was refueled late and there was not enough daylight to get to Broome, this turned out to be quite an adventure, after walking the 4.5km into the community from the strip I hung over a fence and asked the man in the yard where I could find some accommodation and a pie shop.  He informed me I was in the middle of nowhere with no accommodation or pie shop he asked how I got there.  It turned out he was the school principal.  He took me in gave me a feed (not a pie but a great curry) and a place to sleep.  In the morning I took the principal and another teacher for a joy flight and gave a talk about the fundraising at the school.

I also had to spend 4 days in Ingham while getting maintenance performed on the plane.  The other pilots went ahead and I had to catch up.


7.     What did you get out of this trip Mitch ?


Apart from the incredible flying experience I have made some great and long time friendships, met wonderfull people who have put me up and fed me and hopefully I have inspired others to go for it what ever it is.

I would like to thank my mum and dad, my home church The Uniting Church Merimbula and all those people who helped make the event such a great success.  Finally I would like to thank every one who gave what they could afford to the charity, it will make a huge difference in East Timor.  I hope to travel to East Timor in the xmas holidays to help out and see first hand the difference we have made.

    © Snowy River Aviators 2008