QANTAS. One Pilot’s Perspective. By Owen Zupp.

QANTAS Boeing 747 Family


QANTAS. One Pilot’s Perspective.

Yes, I’m stood down by QANTAS and still I consider myself very fortunate. I appreciate the well-meaning messages of support, but my thoughts inevitably drift to those that are far less fortunate. And there are a lot of those in our community.
It’s true that the news out of QANTAS yesterday was not good, but it also wasn’t unexpected. Yes, Kirrily and I are both pilots on the Boeing 747 and yes, the Queen of the Skies has now officially retired. And yes, it may be years before we fly again. And yes, I lost my job in the Ansett collapse as well. None of these are uplifting thoughts, but as I have learned from past experiences, cardiac arrest can spell the end – everything else is temporary. And we can even be shocked back from a cardiac arrest.
Kirrily and I have always considered that life experiences more important than “stuff”. If I end up living long enough, my mobility gone and my ramblings increased, hopefully the imagery of my life’s journey and the love of my family will stir warmth, emotions, and smiles. Stuff can’t do that.
I have always seen the collapse of Ansett as a career disadvantage and a life advantage. My career trajectory tanked and undoubtedly a good few dollars were never earned – but boy, what a ride! It brought me back to reality and I studied for a Master’s Degree. I wrote articles and books and flew more types of aircraft than I could ever have imagined. And the people, places, and sights I have met and seen. Fantastic!
Kirrily could have been a Captain many years ago and I stepped down from command when I returned from my time with the wonderful people at Jetstar. We have four kids at critical ages, and they have always been our priority. We love them so much and are proud of the citizens that they are becoming. I like to think that our career choices have contributed to that.
Sure, our epaulettes and superannuation fund aren’t as gold as they could’ve been, but that’s fine. We have been there for every game, concert, speech night and we have manned the barbecues and served canteen queues. As a family, we are blessed.
My mate and former ICC Umpire of the Year, Simon Taufel, says that “Breakthroughs come from Breakdowns” in his book, “Finding the Gaps”. It’s so true. Personally, I have always thought that strength comes from adversity. Good times don’t necessarily motivate us to improve, whereas the down times and even our mistakes encourage us to be better.
To everyone, thank you for your kind messages through the website and your socials. Kirrily and I are both fine, healthy, and positive about the future. Still, some folks are doing it tough both within and particularly beyond the airline industry. Stay in touch and be there for each other. Try to take joy from every aspect of life that you can, as our time here is too short to do otherwise.
If I never fly again, although I’m confident that I will, I have no regrets. A future post will be about some of the amazing experiences that my aviation journey has presented to me. Even in the face of this news that has been hard on so many, I consider that Kirrily and I have been extremely fortunate to fly for QANTAS. And we will again one day, I’m sure.

Stay safe.

Read Owen’s books here…

Boeing 747 Queen of the Skies, book buy online