PHOTOS | HELEANA GENAUS
Early on a dewy Saturday morning I got the chance to roam Bankstown Airport in Sydney's west, with Petrolette Claire Ferguson. Basair is a base for many starting their journey into aviation, whether they have their sights on recreational flying through to commercial and aerobatic aspirations. From the outside, the sleepy airport (being 8am on a weekend) was really unassuming, but stepping past the gate and into the hangar, I forgot to breathe as I was hit with the possibility of this expansive airport.
As we took a little tour while I got to know Claire, and over the course of the two hours I was there the airport slowly started waking up. As we walked and talked, helicopters from the Federal Police would hover past on the runway before getting clearance to ascend. Petrol tanks buzzed around the runways refuelling planes as they came in. Small recreational planes started, some struggled to fire up, even a sea plane (possibly the only one in Sydney) was having sea water siphoned out by its pilot (old skool!).
There are several aviation schools based at this airport including Sydney Aviatiors, Basair and The University of New South Wales (UNSW) and its location is close to some pretty spectacular training zones near the hills and coast. The humble facade doesn't make a fuss of itself which, in-turn frames the prospect of flying an aircraft in a way that seems feels really approachable.
Heleana is a force of nature. The founder of In Venus Veritas and The Petrolette, and a co-founder of Rising Sun Workshop. Heleana shares her love of vintage cars, riding motorcycles, and (not-so-secretly) dreams of flying planes and piloting a riva aquariva (a la Sophia Loren) very fast through the canals of Venice. Supportive and connected, community is her lifeblood, and she is as real as they come.