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6 years flying in Indonesia

Wow! Doesn’t time fly – pun intended.. It seems appropriate that I get back into updating my blog on this date being as it is, exactly six years since I left the UK to start a new life as a professional pilot flying in Indonesia. The reasons for the hiatus are numerous but mostly because I have been a fairly busy with various things lately and, truth be told, a bit lazy on the writing front. For those that missed my last update on my journey so far, have a read of this blog entry: Four years in Indonesia.

Bangga airstrip - Papua, Indonesia
Bangga airstrip – Papua, Indonesia

The last five months or so since I stopped updating the blog have been rather testing on the work front, so I am going to come clean and let you in on a bit of a secret. I have been doing a lot of soul searching lately about what I do and where I want to go with my aviation career which has required me to ask some pretty big questions of myself. I suppose I have been suffering with a bit of an aviation mid-life crisis, only I am not about to rush out and buy a Porsche (well not just yet anyway, the Catalina kind of ate into that plan!)

It is no secret that things out in Indonesia are not quite a rosy as they once where. The local currency has been devaluing massively over this year, especially against the US dollar which is having an affect on all aviation activities that are naturally tied to the US dollar. I won’t bore you with the details but basically it has forced me to seriously think about my career and what is best for it. Aviation has never and will never be a stable career to have so you do need to have backup plans in-case things turn pear shaped.

Six years on, a little older and wiser but still loving it!
Six years on, a little older and wiser but still loving it!

The good news, for now at least, is I plan to stay out here in Papua flying the Pilatus Porter. I have looked at various career options, applied to many and even interviewed for one but at the moment I just can’t walk away from a job, which despite numerous and increasing downsides, is still enjoyable and rewarding. If you have been following my Twitter and Facebook feeds, I’m sure you’ll have seen some of my latest photos which I think speak for themselves as to the pleasures bush flying offers over pretty much any other aviation career:

Wipon airstrip - Papua, Indonesia
Wipon airstrip – Papua, Indonesia
Aid flights to Agadugume, Papua
Aid flights to Agadugume, Papua
Hero for the day helping the people of Agadugume
Hero for the day helping the people of Agadugume

So there’s no need to panic just yet, I plan to keep bush flying for now! I will continue to post plenty of photos on Instagram and the other social networks, continue with my column for Flyer Magazine, work on another video and of course update the blog more regularly. My final thought for the day is: if you are enjoying what you do, why stop doing it? Keep enjoying it until either it stops being enjoyable or something even more enjoyable comes along.

Happy landings!

10 thoughts on “6 years flying in Indonesia”

  1. I can sympathize entirely…..stay in the same job or is it time to change…..we have all been through that. And the constant boom/bust cycle for pilot recruitment has never helped either. There will come a time when you know that you have had enough, until then keep flying there and enjoying FUN flying. Many of us are envious of your job because it puts the FUN into flying again. We look forward to more posts (and videos) until you decide that it is time to move on !!

    Smooth landings. !

    1. Thanks Jerry! Aviation can be a cruel mistress that’s for sure and I think many pilots move along thinking the next job is the one but then regretting that move a few months down the line and moving on again. I don’t want to fall into that trap as I still enjoy what I do, so will keep enjoying it and sharing my adventures with you all 🙂

  2. Matt,

    Thanks for your innermost thoughts. Allow me to share with you that I’m 48 and have almost figured out what I want to be in life (LOL but true), but I do know that I enjoy what I currently do. I don’t make millions from doing it, but I do enjoy it.

    Less than 20% of those who are gainfully working can say what you & I have said, “I still enjoy it”, that is your inner guidance telling you what you need to know, listen closely to it, it will guide you without conviction and most of all, do not 2nd question, this is YOUR inner guidance (gut feeling), it’s not ever wrong.

    On another more selfish note, part of me is living vicariously through your musings, and will indeed miss it when you choose for it to end, but given the fact I did not indulge in my innermost desire at a much earlier time, to become a commercial pilot at 48, it’s not impossible but more outside the realm of life for me (working towards my gyrocopter license at the moment), so I admit, I quite enjoy the blog.

    Final thoughts Matt, stay on for another 6-mos or year, but evaluate continually, I say that as your inner guidance has been speaking to you and has asked you to start giving pause to evaluate a next step, you have listened and posted accordingly.

    Carpe Punctum, (seize the moment!) and safe travels Matt.


    1. Wise words Steve and I know exactly what you mean about that “gut feeling”. The last time I ignored it on a big decision about 10 years ago, and went with the logical choice, I instantly regretted it. I won’t make that mistake again! If something doesn’t feel right, it probably isn’t. I will certainly keep my eye out for a new adventure though whilst still enjoying the current one.

      Good luck on the gyrocopter license and glad to hear you’ve also found a job you enjoy.



  3. Congrats! It is a privilege to be able to live a dream and yes, sometimes you just need to follow your heart (gut feeling)! It is fine to stay in a comfort zone but don’t be afraid of stepping out occasionally as each time you manage to do that, you will expand the comfort zone a little at a time. Enjoy the moment and keep the enjoyable things coming…. Safe landings!


    1. Thanks Linda. Whilst I didn’t coin that phrase about comfort zones, I’ve always strived to keep expanding mine. Life would be boring if you kept doing the same thing!

      1. iya pasti sdh mahir .. klo begitu, sy mau tulisnya dlm bhs indonesia saja ya. sy suka blognya, foto2 dari udara menginspirasi utk mjd pilot atau sekadar jd penumpang..betapa pekerjaan yg menyenangkan dan menantang.wish you all the best Captain.


  4. I wrote a couple of song in an album called PACENOGEI (“Pace” means father or in popular brother, while “Nogei” in Me Tribe Paniai means friend) consists 7 songs. PACENOGEI’s songs are composed in a wide spectrum of musical genres, ballad, rock, folk, dance, and ethnic. This album is dedicated for the childrens education and healthcare in Papua. Sponsored and produced by ALENIA productions we are very happy to give you our CD as a souvenier for your beautiful pictures and work as a pilot in Papua. My best regards. Stephen Wally

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