Stood Down Thanks to Covid-19. Day Four. By Owen Zupp.

Australia Vs Covid-19

Day Four. Stood Down thanks to Covid-19. (Click here for Day One’s post)

A Cause to Pause.

Firstly, you’ll notice the change in the title of this blog. This Covid-19 pandemic is affecting everyone, and it felt a little pompous to keep saying that it was a QANTAS pilot’s insight. The world is under the pump at the moment and many are in a situation far worse than me. Still, this blog is a means to share my experience and thoughts for better or worse – but the QANTAS tag seemed to be a touch removed from the broader reality.

This morning began with encouragement – more wonderful people touching base and offering thoughts, prospects and hope. Among these, I received the following message and it meant more than the sender may ever know.

It read,
“Hey Owen, I figured you and your colleagues might be feeling a bit down, so it seems extra timely to show my appreciation. A few years ago, I contacted you out of the blue about flying and seeking my first flying job since at that stage I was all out of luck. You gave me some tips.

Fast forward to today – I have an instructor rating and more than 600 hours (which I know is a drop in the ocean, but it means plenty to me). I’m sure that you will fly again, but in the meantime, just know that your blog posts and advice add plenty of value to people. Keep your head up. Thank you!”

When the TV is pumping out statistics of a global crisis, a message like that means the absolute world. It’s why I write my books and share my good fortune to have found a home among the clouds. It’s why I started a website and why I write a blog. It’s the connection with people and the ability to share the journey.

Inspired, I threw a bat and a ball in the car and took the family to the local oval to breathe in the fresh air and bask in the great Australian sunshine. It was simple, cheap and a blessing we could share as an Australian family. I disconnected and it was wonderful. I knew that I would return to the task, head down, bum up and set about planning for the days ahead but its also important to pause. It’s a chance to give oneself an uppercut and remember all that we have and how lucky we are by comparison.

It was a sentiment that I shared with Kirrily as we sat on our bench this evening and weighed up our options and devised our strategy. It also caused me to think of my mum and dad. Their childhood saw the Great Depression and the teens saw them in military service. Their schoolmates died and their parents fed themselves using ration books. My dad was nineteen when he landed in New Guinea as a commando and my mother was the same age as she manned air force radar stations here at home. After the war, dad initially served in Hiroshima in the immediate aftermath of the bomb before returning home to Australia. And then they both set about playing their part in rebuilding a war-torn nation.

My mum and dad are both gone but this evening they inspired me. They never made a fuss about anything and I think in these days of the pandemic, I can see why. They had seen dark days, they had lost friends and even loved ones and family to war. In dad’s case, he had been shot and had seen horrors that I only learned of after his passing. They didn’t merely survive these times; they forged a new life in a better world and always held their children close.

If there is anything to be learned from these dark days, maybe that’s it. Thanks, mum and dad. I hope I can do you proud.

Stay safe everyone and see you tomorrow.


Click here to read, “Boeing 747 – Queen of the Skies. Reflections from the Flight Deck.”

Boeing 747 5th Pod Taking Off
(Image: Keith Anderson)