Student aero club pilot aiming high...
A woman’s dream will take flight this week, when she takes part in the Flying NZ Lakes Regional Rally at Balclutha, which starts on Friday.
Hosted by South Otago Aero Club, student pilot Lisa Watt, 37, of Balclutha, will be competing in the junior landing and team event with three other members.
Born in Christchurch, Watt’s family moved to Balclutha when she was aged 15, where she attended South Otago High School. After leaving school she set out on her overseas travel, and fell in love with flying.
On her return to South Otago, she did an international flight attending, travel and tourism course, commuting to Sir George Seymour College in Dunedin.
About then she met her now husband Chris Watt, who was farming at Kakapuaka, just south of Balclutha. They’ve been married five years.
‘‘I couldn’t do the flying [as an attendant] out of Balclutha, so I did other things.’’
She raised her 12-year-old daughter Ebony from a previous relationship, and is step mum to Chris’s two children.
Using her service and hospitality qualifications, Watt has worked at the Clutha i-Site and Rosebank Lodge, and now owns and runs accommodation at Kaka Point, as well as helping run the family sheep and beef farms at Hina Hina and Milton.
She always knew she wanted to fly, and to have lessons.
About a year ago, the South Otago Aero Club advertised in the Clutha Leader for a secretary/ treasurer.
‘‘I got the job, and that gave me the push I needed to fly - no more excuses.’’
She has been taking lessons since April, and had clocked-up 14 training hours.
‘‘I love it, and the fact it exercises the brain. I could be qualified as a brain surgeon before I’m finished, it really is that much of a challenge.
‘‘It’s taught me I can do anything I want to.’’
Her daughter is also keen to fly, so between them they’re advocates for getting more women into flying.
‘‘I’ve told her to aim high.’’
It’s also been a challenge getting her hours up in some of the adverse flying weather over the last four months.
Student pilots can go solo when they’ve done between 50 and 60 hours.
South Otago Aero Club member and junior pilot, Lisa Watt of Romahapa.