Never Too Old
90-year-old Waitakere Gardens resident Colin Nesfield and instructor Josh McKoy off for another flight © Image courtesy of Ian Couper
One of the newest, and certainly the oldest member learning to fly at North Shore Aero Club is 90-year-old Waitakere Gardens resident Colin Nesfield.
Always a plane enthusiast, Colin was around when Jean Batten arrived at Mangere. He saw the first Pan Am Clipper alight on the Waitemata Harbour, attended numerous air shows at Ardmore and vividly recalls a display at Whenuapai featuring the arrival of a Canberra Jet Bomber participating in the London to Christchurch air race. But until recently his most memorable flight was with the ubiquitous Fred Ladd to Waiheke Island in a Grumman Widgeon.
A long-time West Auckland resident who’s lived in the village for four years and still gets out on his motorbike most weekends, Colin occasionally drove past the ‘learn to fly’ sign on the Albany highway, which caught his attention. Earlier this year he decided to give it a go while he was still young.
Recognising he is unlikely to be medically approved to ever fly his ‘first solo’ Colin has set his sights on achieving his dream of being able to takeoff, fly a sortie and land safely, albeit with his instructor sitting next to him.
After only three lessons he is already doing the take offs and medium turns. His instructor, C-Cat Josh McKoy says Colin is a natural and had he started a few years earlier would be well on the way to gaining his private pilot license.
The process is very structured,” Colin explains. “Right from when you arrive at the aeroplane, there’s a lot of checking and procedures to go through. The instructor takes care of this, so I’m at liberty just to fly the plane. I love the excitement and challenge of it and learning something new.”
His advice for others his age looking to learn a new skill? “If you’re up for it, give it a try!”
Edited article reproduced from Prop Talk August 2020 with permission.