Pilot ready to spread her wings at champs
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 compete in the junior landing and team event.
The national qualifying rally is expected to attract between 20 and 30 competitors.
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, near 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 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 a 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.
Her hope is to get to the Flying NZ 2018 National Championships to be hosted by South Canterbury Aero Club, at Timaru, February 28 to March 3.
Clubs compete regionally to entry to the nationals.
At the south Otago rally, she is entered in the Jean Batten Memorial Trophy for students, which includes preflight, precision circuits and landing, and the Wigram Cup team competition. gain