Founder and Director
Angela has over 30 years of aviation industry experience as a pilot, skydiver, business owner and consultant. However, it was her involvement in a traumatic fatal plane crash that provided the catalyst for Navigating Aviation, a specialist guidance and support service tailored to members of the aviation community, their family and friends.
Angela’s aviation journey began early in her life with skydiving. She subsequently completed over 1000 jumps and became co-owner and co-director of a highly successful skydiving operation on the outskirts of Brisbane, Australia. Angela commenced flight training in 2004, attaining her Private Pilot’s Licence (PPL) and adding “jump pilot” to her already long list of responsibilities in the business. She would soon achieve her Commercial Pilot’s Licence (CPL), sparking aspirations outside her business to fly commercial jets.
These aspirations halted on the morning of the 2nd of January 2006 when one of their skydiving aircraft crashed with seven people on board. The pilot, two tandem instructors and two tandem passengers were fatally injured. Life for Angela and many others close to the accident would never be the same again after that horrific day. The ongoing effects of this profoundly traumatic and life-changing tragedy continue to reverberate through their lives, even to this day.
For many months after the accident, Angela put on a brave and stoic front. She held it together for her family, the business and the community; but at times she became disappointed that no immediate industry support was available. Angela felt alone and that nobody understood the grief and guilt that she was going through.
She continued flying and managing the business because this was all that she knew and it was her families only source of income, but the resilience and faux bravado she had relied upon up until that point eventually reached its limit and the trauma finally caught up with her. Two people living under the same roof with undiagnosed and untreated PTSD meant that the relationship broke down, and the business partnership broke down. Angela was forced to stop her love of flying and halt any airline career aspirations.
It wasn't until 12 years after the accident that she hit her lowest point and finally reached out for support. Through talking openly about her experiences, Angela noticed that many others in the industry had begun reaching out to her for support and guidance.
From first-hand experience, Angela knows that while airlines and larger aviation organisations provide employee assistance and peer support programs, specialist assistance is not readily available to many in the broader aviation community in their time of need.
That's how Navigating Aviation was born - a specialist support, guidance and counselling service that aims to remove the barriers to receiving confidential and professional support in the aviation industry.
"Embracing your own vulnerability and reaching out is actually a strength, not a weakness.”
In late 2020 Angela was finally in a position to begin enjoying flying again and she returned to her beloved aviation community. Having hardly flown for over a decade, she has since gone on to regain her currency and achieve her aerobatic and formation endorsements. Angela continues to hone her flying skills with the goal of competing in aerobatic competitions and attaining her flight instructor rating, to name a few.