(Written by Katherine Williams and photographs
taken by Katherine Williams & Hans Cools)
Discussing the possibility of Nikki Dunmun returning to her dream of flying brought many emotions to the forefront as she has been hoping to get back to aviation for a long time. She is currently studying her Commercial Pilots license with the Flight Training Centre in Mareeba. Nikki began flying in Grade 11, but quickly found that she was unable to fund her dream. So she made a career in real estate, from personal assistant, to sales, then management, so the climb and responsibilities came thick and fast. Nikki describes real estate as “life changing. There are days where you see and hear things you will never forget.”
Real Estate taught Nikki to become far more empathetic, far less judgemental and she ended up describing her experience as “I will never regret everything I learned in real estate, ever! But I would never open that door again.”
Nikki had tried many times to return to flying, desperate to fulfil her dream, but it never really worked out. So she applied to do a Cabin Crew course and whilst visiting Aviation Australia to pay for this course, she googled Aviation Australia and came across a Pilot programme which she was unaware of. From there, with much encouragement from her partner she applied to MAF, attended the Assessment Centre and was then offered a place. Nikki says it was a very different process this time around; She applied without desperation and she was also delighted to find out MAF was a Christian organisation as it also gave her an opportunity to reconnect with God.
Nikki describes coming to Mareeba as a “culture shock” as she has had a rapid change in pace from management in real estate to becoming a student again. She says “I never thought I would have such a hard time emotionally being in a different place. I am not an emotional person by any account. I think being in MAF is the first time in my whole life that I have shown such raw emotion and that’s because everyone here is so welcoming and transparent and accepting and I have never experienced that before. I don’t have to be something I am not.
”Nikki would love to eventually carry out a flight instructor rating course and be in a position to not only teach flying to students, but to help them learn about themselves. To sum up, Nikki says “Having the lowest day in Aviation is better than having the best day in Real Estate!” Welcome to the Flight Training Centre Nikki!