Sir Charles Kingsford Smith and his great great nephew, Alex Kingsford Smith.
Sir Charles Kingsford Smith and his great great nephew, Alex Kingsford Smith. Contributed

No pressure, but you're related to a famous aviation pioneer

WHEN your surname is Kingsford Smith, chances are a love of flying is in the blood.

Alex Kingsford Smith, the great-great nephew of famous Australian aviation pioneer Sir Charles Kingsford Smith, has recently been granted his commercial pilot's licence after learning to fly in Lismore.

He was raised on a cattle farm at Upper Orara, near Coffs Harbour, before deciding to take to the skies after seeing a Facebook advertisement about flying lessons in 2015.

By 2017 he had started working towards getting his pilot's licence.

The 25-year-old said he initially started learning to fly at a flight school in Melbourne, before shifting to the Lismore-based Northern Rivers Aero Club.

Mr Kingsford Smith said he chose to learn to fly at the club because he could "get more out of it" than at many other flight schools.

SOARING: Alex Kingsford Smith, 25, is the great-great nephew of Sir Charles Kingsford Smith, and has just qualified as a commercial pilot. Photo: Marc Stapelberg
SOARING: Alex Kingsford Smith, 25, is the great-great nephew of Sir Charles Kingsford Smith, and has just qualified as a commercial pilot. Photo: Marc Stapelberg

"I know Bill and the other instructors have a wealth of knowledge and much greater experience," he said.

"They didn't just teach me how to fly, they are teaching valuable skills you can't really learn anywhere else and were happy to pass along that knowledge and let me learn as I went."

Mr Kingsford Smith credited the club's CEO Bill Kiernan with the success of his training.

"After going to a bigger school and seeing how they both worked, I really enjoyed this flight school the most," he said.

"Not only the much higher level of experience they passed along, but it was clear that Bill, and all of the instructors, really wanted me to succeed."

Mr Kingsford Smith completed his final assessments and was granted his licence on Tuesday, and said he already had plans for his next step.

But he doesn't intend to take to the skies with the passenger airlines, preferring instead to follow a career in "general aviation on a cattle station out west".

"I grew up on a beef farm and know cattle, but I also love flying," he said.

"By going out west I can do a bit of both."

Mr Kingsford Smith said his passion for working "out west" was solidified after he completed the Outback Air Race in 2018, a fundraising flight in aid of the Royal Flying Doctor Service.



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