FRAN: Flying High


Buying gifts for my dad has always been impossible. He is a devotee to the treat-yo-self phenomenon, so when birthdays etc come around, we often draw a blank.

As a youngster he rode bikes and drove taxis, and has had a boat for as long as I can remember (don't be jealous - every summer it was a case of more cleaning, painting and engine work than actual boating). No one batted an eyelid when he announced he was getting his pilot’s licence. Everyone was, however, a little curious when mum followed suit.

They had already made the big move from Haberfield (Sydney’s inner west Federation suburb) to Temora (five hours drive south west, into the dusty bowels of country NSW) in order to live on the airfield estate. Their house backs onto the taxiway.

The mid 1980s reboot of The Jetsons was a TV staple of my childhood: robot maids, space-dogs, flying cars, jetpacks, travelators everywhere, a certain 'nostalgia for the future'. Later, Luc Besson's The Fifth Element became a favourite with its flying cabs, multipasses, and Jean Paul Gaultier costumery. While my parents will likely never reside in outer space or save the world (Korben Dallas style), they are already living with Jetsons style conveniences of air travel literally in their backyard.

Mum hadn’t ever shown much interest in being reckless or going fast. She was the parent you’d want teaching you to drive - clear with directions and constructive feedback (and entirely less handbrake-grabbing-with-subsequent-stalled-engine than that which accompanied lessons from dad).

When asked why she wanted to fly, mum simply said “in case anything happens to your father while we are in the air”.

So I guess my mum learnt to fly planes in self-defence. Go figure.

I caught up with them recently during a regular service on their sterling Archer III aeroplane. While they are off gallivanting across the country, I'll continue waiting for hoverboards to enter mass production. Dad doesn't have one of those yet.

Jo is a buxom redhead looking for adventure. She loves her motor children equally, and if you ask really nicely, she might let you take them for a spin. Easily distractible, but also easily obsessed, she is our Editor-in-Chief, resident proof-reader, and zany ideas lady. Caffeine is her fuel of choice.