I was a passenger that afternoon; being driven the three hour trip back home from the function (see previous post) and all I could think about was how to write one of the most important letters of my life.  To have the highest officer in the Australia Defence Force offer to look into my previous appeals was, and still does, gob smack me.  Hoping for a favourable outcome, I had my draft reviewed by many to ensure it was spot on for professionalism and then sent it off coupled with my previous failed appeals.  I knew that Air Chief Marshall Houston (retd.) would not throw his weight around but would set about ensuring that my appeals were correct in their judgement, and this is all that I could ask of him.  It was another big sigh when a couple of months later I got a return email from him stating that he had tried but the policy was the policy.  Whilst of course I was disappointed, my respect for the man grew even more as his integrity shone through in the way he assisted me by having the appeals checked at the highest level.

I felt as though I was at a dead end.  I had tried three ways to get a waiver to the policy and even suggested a trial policy change.  My current job gave me a promotion and so I moved again and found myself still dreaming of the ‘what if’ scenarios.  What if I didn’t have glasses, what if I got the surgery anyway and proved that it worked in civil aviation, what if I just joined air force in a different role and see if I could get into the cockpit from inside the institution?  After three appeals I thought it wouldn’t be a chance and so continued in my job doing what I knew in a place that would come to challenge my resolve.  At least there were things I looked forward to, like the Avalon Air Show.

The Avalon Air Show is the largest air show in the Australian calendar, with exhibitors and their aircraft coming from all over the world to showcase everything aviation.  I flew down to Avalon located one hour outside of Melbourne and joined some friends over the weekend, camping out and admiring a mass of different flying machines.  For some, this would be boring.  But if you’re passionate about something, you could do it forever.  Walking around the aircraft displays I stopped to admire a RAAF PC-9.  This is the aircraft the Air Force display team, the “Roulettes”, fly and also acts as the advanced trainer for the Navy and the Air Force.  An exhibitor noticed my interest and approached me, “Tough looking bit of kit isn’t it?” he said with a strong Australian tone.  I would find out that he was a retired pilot with the Air Force and he had appealed a different medical ailment seven times to try to get in and failed each one of them.  What he said next inspired me, “What opened the door was after I wrote to my local member of parliament to request a review of the appeals, and then they accepted me.”  I wasn’t about to waste anymore time…

COMING UP: Politics

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