General and Recreation AviationFlying Instructor
T: 0414 580 246
John Hayler - Instructor Profile
I promise you, flying will be the most fun you will ever have sitting down with your clothes on!!!!
How long have you been flying and what encouraged you to start?
My Dad bought a Piper PA 22 Tri Pacer which he used extensively for his engineering business in the Rhodesian bush, and I flew regularly with him during school holidays. I was often allowed to handle the aircraft, and thus I became totally infatuated with aeroplanes.
I joined the Rhodesian Air Force as a pilot cadet 42 years ago and soloed on the Percival Provost in 17 hrs. This aircraft was similar to the Ozzy Winjeel, a very large two seat tail dragger with pneumatic brakes and a 450HP radial engine.
It was an absolute pig to handle, especially on the ground, and this was the reason it was chosen by the Rhodesians, they figured that if you could cope with the “Prov” you should be able to fly anything. I then went onto the De Havilland Vampire jet, and soloed on that just after my 18th birthday.
Why did you become an instructor?
I had a fantastic aviation career, accumulating just over 23,000 hrs of flying. From Air Force, to six years African bush flying, to Air Rhodesia / Air Zimbabwe and Cathay Pacific. Many, many pilots helped me and tutored me through the years and my passion and love of flying has never waned. I took a lot out of the ‘Aviation Box’, and now I want to replace that by helping and guiding other potential pilots. It makes no difference to me if you want to fly privately for pleasure, or you wish to make a career of it, I promise you, flying will be the most fun you will ever have sitting down with your clothes on!!!!
What qualities do you believe a student needs to be successful at any level in aviation?
Easy, Passion and Motivation. Lose any one of those, and it’s an uphill struggle from there. A really good instructor should be able to keep you on track and encourage you to reach the stars.
What’s your scariest moment as an instructor?
Well, it was actually during my Instructor training. We were flying a Liberty XL2, which has very feisty stall characteristics if mishandled. My instructor wanted to see how far you could push the envelope in a stall, and this resulted in the aircraft rapidly entering into a fully developed spin. The instructor used the correct anti-spin recovery technique, but the aircraft was in a steep nose down attitude when it recovered. Unfortunately my instructor induced a secondary stall when bringing the nose up towards the horizon and the aircraft promptly flicked into a spin the other way. I realised we were rapidly running out of sky, so thanks only to my aerobatic flying experience where spinning is relatively common place, I took control and recovered the aircraft. It was a very quiet cockpit on our return to the airfield, where I was told that I could consider myself as being signed off on spin recovery.
What is the most interesting or challenging plane you have flown?
Without a doubt, the Boeing 707 was both the most interesting and challenging aircraft I ever flew. The aircraft used push rods and cables to move the ailerons and elevators, and there was only one hydraulic system, which powered the rudder. As a result it had a very unbalanced and ‘sloppy feel’ to the controls which proved to be extremely challenging whilst handling the aircraft on instruments and in poor weather. It was a totally ‘hands on aircraft’ with a very poor auto pilot, and it took three crew to fly it safely, Captain, First Officer and a dedicated Flight Engineer.
Do you have a most memorable flight you would like to tell us about?
That would the delivery flight with Christian Corse, when we flew a Beechcraft Baron from the east coast of America, across the Pacific Ocean, and onto to Port Macquarie. There is a full account of this in an earlier Propwash, but we had two very serious fuel problems across the Pacific where we couldn’t transfer fuel out of one of the ferry tanks, and a day later when a fuel tank burst between Western Samoa and Fiji.
Finally, if money was no object, what would be your dream plane?
Bet you thought I would say Spitfire or P51 Mustang!!! My choice would be a P38 Lockheed Lightning. A very rare, very high performance twin tail boom fighter from WW11. It flew extensively in the Pacific theatre against the Japanese, and has the most beautiful lines of any aircraft I’ve seen. Price?? If one came up for sale, about eight million US would be my guess.