Yindi is a full-time pilot operating a Cessna Caravan for Go Horizontal Falls Tours. A true Kimberley character with decades of experience flying in the Kimberley. This is her story.
My most memorable moment flying in the Kimberley has to be hitting a fish upon landing my Mallard seaplane at Kuri Bay. I hit a mackerel. It went straight through the starboard engine. There was fish mashed all over the plane. I had to submit a paper report to CASA detailing the fish strike. It took about a year to go through the system and CASA actually called me to ask if I was joking. They had never received a report for a fish strike.
I obtained my pilot’s license down in Jandakot, near Perth. I was completing my teaching degree at university at the time but decided to pursue flying as a career instead.
I am a Broome local. I’ve been here since 1991. In that time, I’ve been a pilot but I have also been a Mum and an instructor at the camp school.
When I arrived in Broome I was one of only two female pilots in the Kimberley. I was living at the backpackers. It was just after the pilot strike, so there weren’t many jobs for fresh pilots. To get work I would take groups of backpackers to the airport and ask to fly. Each time I arrived they let me do a 15-20 minute scenic flight over Broome.
One day I arrived at the airport with a group of Broome locals, including Steve Tucker from Go Horizontal Falls Tours. They wanted an extensive Kimberley tour. The airline felt their chief pilot would be better suited to the job but the group insisted, “No, we want Yindi to fly.” So, they let me fly, and I ended up getting a full-time job with that company.
Most of my experience in the Kimberley has been flying for the pearling industry. I was lucky enough to work with Paspaley for a number of years flying between Broome and Darwin, including Cockatoo Island. In fact, that is where I met my husband, he was working on the island.
I am passionate about the Kimberley because it’s just amazing county. So much of it is untouched. And it varies so much between the seasons. The dry season has great flying conditions, just the occasional fog. The wet season weather completely changes and you’ve got to take into account the afternoon storms.
My favourite part of the coast is at the mouth of Dugong Bay, near the Horizontal Falls. There are these little round islands that are particularly beautiful. Flying over the whales between June and September is particularly special too.
What I love most about flying is getting to see places you can’t see from the road. Getting up there and getting that bird’s eye view of the Kimberley.