About the Author

Welcome to the online home of Shelley Ross, Australian pilot & journalist.

The purpose of this website is simple. A country as big, flat, and sparsely populated as Australia is made for touring by air. The destinations on this site are by no means only accessible by air ... well actually, some are, but can I just say - when it comes to the outback, flying is a really good idea. Basically, it’s all too bloody hot, far and tedious to drive ... ARE YOU CRAZY?? 

 

If you have your pilot's licence, then before we get going, I need to say at this point, that there's absolutely no reason to be intimated by the self-flying bit. As I'm routinely reminded, if I can do it, anyone can. On a merit rating of one to awesome, I'm hangin' out with those everything-to-gain Numero Uno's. It's never been just a walk in the park for me and until recently, most of my flights have involved intense periods of hyperventillating and a lot of praying. To say that flying extends me is quite the understatement.

Ever the optimist, though, I'm seeing a couple of upsides to this. I bet I'm the last mother in the street to get Alzheimer's, since my brain is regularly being pushed to bursting point. The other one of course is weight control. Complete disinterest in eating before and during any given flight will do that. Except the mandatory inflight jelly beans.

Anyway, all this has been going on for 22 years; I now have my instructor rating and love nothing more than to introduce my students and fellow pilots to our big backyard!

Learning to fly

A bit slow on the uptake perhaps, but getting a pilot's licence at age 38 was the most inspired thing I've ever done. Who knew I'd prefer flying a plane to working for a living? Talk about a life curve-ball. I got my private licence, and because the whole learning to fly thing is such a mad and wonderful journey, I never wanted it to stop. I remember saying to Kim Fabian, my very first instructor up at Warnervale Air on the NSW Central Coast, that if he ever even thought about hopping out of the aircraft with me still in it, I would systematically carve out all his organs and sell them. The day he did that, MANY moons later, was probably the happiest day of my life.

So, with my previous career on hold, and as our three kids were busy at kindy and primary school, I battled my way though various ratings and then my commercial licence, float plane endorsement, instrument rating - frankly, anything to get me out of tuckshop duty.  

As for the writing, flying handed me an endless supply of material on a topic I was passionate about. So I got to work. Under the unforgettable mentorship of my now good friend and publisher, Doug Nancarrow, I edited Australian Flying Magazine for nine years up to 2008, and then moved to freelance journalism, just to nudge me out of my comfort zone a little. Here's where I saw a sizeable hole where outback touring information needed to be. So, all for filling holes, I created this website for no other reason than to share the information I've gathered from years of flying myself around Australia with my jaw dropped to the ground.

You'll find a growing list of destinations within these pages, and I will be adding new destinations and tips as often as I can manage to get away flying. 

 
Background

This won't take long, as I'm not all that old if you think about Socrates. Originally a Queenslander, I have been living on Sydney's northern beaches since 1982. My husband, Rossy (that's short for Peter Ross and that's about the last time you'll see his full name on this site), and I have three kids (Abby 23, Joey 25 & Will 27) who are periodically up for sale, depending on their behaviour/attitude/level of hangover. 

 

Keeping me well grounded ... Joey, Will and Abby RossKeeping me well grounded ... Joey, Will and Abby Ross Whole Ross clan, incl cousin Kate in the middleWhole Ross clan, incl cousin Kate in the middle

Rossy and I have a very workable parenting technique, called the Braille Method. Going by feel. Is there any other way with this species? Basically, we've got no idea, but we have a fair bit of fun with them in any given week. None of them fly - but I'm still working on that. Apparently, emulating anything your mother does holds little rank in the cool pool. But I'm happy to report Rossy has taken it up with relish - now flying solo with his RA licence, and on his way to PPL, and thus ready to take over if I happen to walk off the course mid-way through a flight together.  He loves touring with me, but do you believe he actually prefers doing those useless loop the loop thingo's in tailwheel aeroplanes for God's sake ... don't start me.

With my wonderful Rossy, best front seat passenger I could every apply for.With my wonderful Rossy, best front seat passenger I could every apply for.

 It is Rossy that I can thank for this whole flying gig. Despite my gorgeous late father, Bob Parkin, being a pilot (RAAF then Ansett for 30 years) I did not even think about flying myself until Rossy bought me a flying lesson for Christmas one year. Well, so excited and grateful was I, that I fell pregnant with our third child a week later and couldn't start flying for 18 months. Now there's a loser's story ...

Welcome

So, welcome to Flying the Outback. I'm not trying to be your essential guide to anything. It's my way of saying just give it a go and see where you end up. If you think you might like to join one of our training safaris at any time, just drop me an email.

So use me up, take my suggestions, trawl through the photo galleries and copy the safaris without shame nor guilt. Just do it. Get a taste of flying the outback and I promise you, you'll never look back.  

And finally, if you see me outback or hear me over the radio, I'd love you to say hello.

Shelley