Sky-high start to UniSA graduate’s career

by Will Venn

All the hours of flying experience Kafu Chan clocked up as an aviation student at the University of South Australia gave him the confidence to remain calm when a plane he was flying stalled with single engine failure.

Chan was circuit training in a Cessna 172 aircraft at just 800ft above the ground at Parafield airport when he attempted to adjust the throttle to bring the aircraft in to land.

When the throttle failed to respond, Chan’s instructor took control of the aircraft and bought it in to land with limited power.

“This experience was exceptional, it was all over in a minute but it gave me an insight into how it really looks in an emergency situation,” Chan said.

“I didn’t panic and it actually consolidated my willingness to become a pilot as I believe I can handle such a situation, which clears up the doubt at the very beginning.”

Chan’s cool and professional approach in the face of a potential catastrophe led him to graduate with an aviation degree from the University in 2009.

Since then Chan has undertaken a cadetship at Cathay Pacific Airlines, where, in recognition of his exceptional flying skills, he was recently presented with a Boeing flying trophy.

The trophy is awarded to the Cathay Pacific Airlines cadet pilot who has performed the best among the whole course, in terms of flying performance.

“The cadet program from Cathay Pacific involves flying licenses of Hong Kong that include commercial pilot license and multi-engine command instrument rating, which is closely related to the Australian one which you can obtain through UniSA,” Chan said.

“The aviation academy shares the same airport as the cadet course. For the theory part, basics are more or less the same as what we learnt from UniSA.

“I would say the course in UniSA was such a big help, at least to me, for my study at Cathay. If I can choose once again, I would still take the same course to prepare myself.”

Today, as a second officer on board commercial Boeing 777 aircraft, Chan has already travelled the world pursuing the career of his dreams, across cities including New York, Milan, Paris and Hong Kong.

“Being a pilot is a responsible discipline and also an enjoyable job. You need to have effort in the right area and passion about this industry,” he said.

“However, this is a very fun, enjoyable and rewarding career. Every flight is different.”

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