Deniliquin Aero Club president Darren Manzin started flying planes about 24 years ago and still has a passion for it.
And it’s a passion he and his fellow Aero Club members want to share with others.
The club is always looking for more members, and Mr Manzin said anyone who wants to be involved or with an interest in aviation is encouraged to join.
‘‘The Aero Club is a social group. What people don’t understand is that you don’t have to be a pilot, just anyone with an interest in aircraft and aviation is welcome.
‘‘We have an ageing membership and are looking for a new crowd of younger people to get involved.
‘‘We meet up every Friday night for a social gathering as well as each Sunday morning for breakfast.
‘‘You generally get to see pilots flying in from surrounding areas on Sunday mornings.
‘‘We’re a family club so parents can bring their kids out, too.’’
Mr Manzin took up flying as a hobby in 1994, taught by former Deniliquin councillor Phil Evans.
He took a hiatus from the sky in the early 2000s, before taking to the air again five years ago.
‘‘Throughout the drought in the early 2000s is when I stopped,’’ he said.
‘‘With that and also having kids it made it a bit difficult to find the time to fly.
‘‘But I’ve really enjoyed getting back in the plane.
‘‘When you go flying you’re not thinking about anything other than flying the plane, so it’s a great escape.
‘‘You also get to see some different country and it’s convenient with turning day-long drives into one to two hours.’’
Mr Manzin got his pilot’s licence after 18 months of flying, spending roughly one hour each week in the plane.
‘‘Some people take a matter of days to get their licence but I decided to take my time,’’ he said.
‘‘The good thing about getting your licence is the fact that once you have the skills you don’t really lose them.
‘‘I completed all the theory work where you learn about navigation, meteorology and human factors. That knowledge has to stay with you when you’re flying.
‘‘It took me about four to five hours with an instructor when I got back in the plane five years ago before I was good to go again.’’
Mr Manzin completed his training in a Cessna 172 four-seat single-engine aircraft.
He has since upgraded, buying a Piper Arrow single-engine trainer aircraft from Perth in 2014.
‘‘My longest flight was my first one in the new plane when I flew it back home from Perth with my wife Janet,’’ he said.
‘‘Otherwise it’s generally just an hour flight for fun.’’
For more information on the Aero Club, visit www.deniliquinaeroclub.com