While the thought of flying leaves some of us feeling rather nervous, up in the sky is where Teran Black is most at home.
Although she has always had a love for flying, sparked by her father and older brother’s interests, as a teenager Teran never imagined she could pursue a career in aviation. At age 20 she landed a job with QANTAS as a flight attendant, and her passion grew as opportunities opened up for her to forge her own path in the skies. While with QANTAS, she was fortunate enough to be part of the exciting new A380 startup, before moving on to work with other large carriers Emirates, Strategic Airlines and Virgin Australia.
Teran took every opportunity she could to fly. During her time with Virgin, her older brother was completing his commercial pilot’s licence and Teran loved the chance to go up with him. While on international flights, the crew sometimes had the chance to sit in the jumpseat up at the flight deck and she took every opportunity here she could too. While she really enjoyed her role as cabin crew, Teran was keen take her aviation journey further with a new challenge and responsibility; so moving over to the pilot’s seat was just the next logical step.
Teran finally booked a one-hour trial introductory flight to test herself, and it was quickly clear she had made the right decision.
“From that moment on I was hooked. I finally just felt like I was doing what I was meant to do!” she said.
With total support from both her parents and her brother, Teran gave away her job as a flight attendant to focus on learning to fly and enrolled full time at Air Gold Coast in Coolangatta. With incredible passion as her tailwind, Teran completed her Commercial Licence in just over 10 months. Studying aviation never felt like a chore – she loved every page of every textbook and would charge into her next lesson fully prepared. Getting to fly was the ultimate reward for long hours reading, and she always strived to get the most from her lessons.
Study doesn’t stop in the aviation game. Teran has also completed a course on Aeronautical Physics through Dr Steve Holding and Multi Engine Command Instrument Rating. She is finishing her final subject of an Air Transport Pilots Licence.
“Learning as a pilot never stops and you’re always put to the test with exams and check flights. It’s so satisfying to pass them and know that your hard work pays off.”
While cabin crews are often female-dominated, as a whole, the aviation industry is still a man’s world. This is slowly shifting as more women take up the challenge, and as Teran noted;
“… there’s no reason they shouldn’t. We all have to go through the same process, tick the same boxes and pass the same exams and flight tests, and females are very capable of doing that.”
As a pilot for Aviair in Kununurra, Teran was occasionally on the receiving end of a startled look from passengers when they realised she going to fly the plane, but her professionalism, friendly nature, expertise and passion shone through and they always left beaming from the experience.
Her passengers were treated to a spectacular birds-eye-view of Lake Argyle, the Bungles, El Questro, the Cockburn Ranges, ‘croc spotting’ at sunset along the lower Ord River and day tours around the Argyle Diamond Mine. No two days are the same in this industry, which is part of the charm for Teran.
Moving from her home on Queensland to the Kimberly was at first daunting, but Teran quickly grew to love it.
“I can honestly say my time in Kununurra was better than I ever imagined. The Kimberley region is absolutely stunning and I’m so happy I was able to see and do the things I did. Driving out to the beautiful El Questro station, Home Valley station, walking stunning gorges to the most spectacular waterfalls, taking cruises on Lake Kununurra and Lake Argyle, walking Cathedral Gorge at the Bungles, helicopter tours with Helispirit. There is so much to do!”
While not currently working with Aviair while she completes her latest studies, Teran is eager to return in 2019. The remote Kimberley region gave her an unmissable opportunity to hone her piloting skills, with varied conditions so different and unpredictable compared to city or regional flying. Working the tourist (dry) season, she has had to contend with short dirt runways, unfamiliar terrain and uncontrolled airspace where you are solely responsibility for all decisions until you reach the ground. Come the wet season, there is unpredictable weather, regularly reduced visibility and all-too-regular fires that provide additional challenges.
“After moving remote, I really encourage every pilot to jump out of their comfort zones of living in cities and go experience flying in rural Australia and experience living life somewhere different,” Teran said.
Moving into the future, Teran would love to fly floatplanes and do an aerobics rating, however her biggest goal is to one day return to the large airlines where her aviation journey began. She encourages everyone – men and women – who have a passion for flying to pursue the career as she did.
“There’s a very indescribable feeling of flying an aeroplane and I would encourage anyone to do it if they are thinking about it! Aviation is rewarding. As cabin crew I was able to see so much and work with people from all over the world. I always kept in mind that some guests would literally save for years to be able to buy a ticket and take ‘that holiday’, and I’d always do my best to make their journey easy and unforgettable. Now as a pilot, I still get to do that plus fly the aircraft and always push myself to be the best, safest, knowledgeable pilot I can be.”