Iain Pero is a Director of Flight Experience™ International Ltd and has been instrumental in co-ordinating the different facets of the Fear of Flying Course to make sure it is the best available. His vision has been to create an ‘on-demand’ course that is robust, professional and uses contemporary treatment processes.
“I want our course to be the ‘standard’ when it comes to overcoming anxiety around flying. My job takes me around the world several times a year and I still enjoy getting on a plane, but I knew a lot of people actually hated the thought of flying. We were constantly being approached by people seeking to use our simulators as a ‘cure-all’ for their phobia, but I knew that the simulator alone was not enough.
I approached Dr. Nikki Johnson who I knew could help me put a program together. With Nikki, Julian D’Arcy and a number of very helpful airline pilots we now have the Flight Experience™ Fear of Flying Course that has been running successfully since 2014. Our success rate is close to 100%, with absolutely no negative feedback.
I’m very proud of the result and love reading emails from clients who now actually look forward to jumping on a plane.”
Dr. Nikki Johnson
Principal Psychologist BA(Psy), (Hons), M. Psy (Clin), PhD
Dr. Nikki Johnson is the Flight Experience ‘Fear of Flying’ Course psychologist. Nikki has prepared the psychology component of the course based on her experience in this field. Her expertise in Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) has created a robust and professional course that is able to address client’s anxieties across many different areas.
“I have been able to make use of my knowledge gained from spending hundreds of hours treating patients with a wide range of anxieties. By working with professional pilots and using the Flight Experience simulators we have created a program that means that we have an extremely high success rate. I am personally involved in the selection of high quality psychologists in the various locations across Australia to ensure a strict adherence to our principles”
Flight Operations and Training Manager Commercial Pilot – Type Rated Boeing 737
Julian is Head of Flight Operations and Training within the Flight Experience Group of companies. He is a commercial pilot and Type Rated on the Boeing 737NG. His responsibilities cover the recruitment and training of new and existing staff at our global locations, developing training programs and updating our Flight Operations and Training Manuals and Standards, and overseeing the certification process of our simulators by the various national aviation authorities.
Julian is responsible for developing the Flight Education and Simulator Components of our ‘Fear of Flying’ Course, and the training of our Airline Pilots and Simulator Instructors to conduct the course.
“I work directly with Nikki and our great network of experienced airline pilots and Flight Instructors. I have been privileged to be responsible for developing the Flight Education and Simulator Components of our Fear of Flying Course.
These components are designed to enable the participants to discover and understand the ‘technical’ side of aviation, relevant to their specific anxieties. It is proven that a lack of understanding of “what goes on” in a flight can have a major impact on an individual’s fear of flying, and therefore it has been essential for us to address this as a significant part of the course.
We strive to deliver a robust course to the highest standard throughout our network of Flight Experience stores, and so far we have had incredibly good success”.
Melbourne’s Fear of Flying psychologist, Shawn Goldberg is passionate in assisting those who experience anxiety. This includes specific phobias such as aviophobia, as well as social anxiety and Posttraumatic Stress Disorder. Shawn is dedicated to helping relieve the burden of emotional distress and developing resilience in clients. Shawn also provides supervision, presentations and professional development workshops in promoting best practice for other clinicians.
“I am thoroughly enjoying running the Fear of Flying course and assisting countless individuals to gain a sense of control over their phobia. Nikki has done a great job in creating a course which is easy to follow and that I am confident in. I have witnessed the rewards of pushing through the initial discomfort of seeking help; it far outweighs living with the fear of flying. I look forward to helping you.”
Clinical Psychologist B Psych (Hons), MClin Psych
Corrie is our resident Sydney Psychologist. Corrie has done a great job with her clients and brings to the course her great understanding of the therapies required to treat clients.
“I am a Clinical Psychologist with experience working in public health as well as private practice. When I am not running Flight Experience’s Fear of Flying course I specialise treating people with severe anxieties such as Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, Generalised Anxiety Disorder and Panic Disorder. I primarily use a Cognitive-Behavioural approach, though I have experience integrating other therapies. As well as Fear of Flying groups, I have run group programs for mood and anxiety as well as body image and self-esteem. I also enjoy my work at Charles Sturt University where I supervise Clinical Psychology Masters students”
Natalie is our Brisbane psychologist and her professional interests include mood disorders (i.e. depression, anxiety and OCD), infidelity, traditional and non-traditional (e.g. open) relationships, recovery from domestic violence, the psychology of gastroenterological disorders (the brain-gut connection: (IBS, IBD)), and the neuroscience opf mood disorders and psychotherapy.
“I am excited to be working with the Flight Experience Fear of Flying course and my experience with dealing with anxieties through the use of Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) is ideal for the program”
Psychologist BA (Psych); Grad. Dip, App. Psych;
Graduate Diploma in Clinical Hypnosis;
M. Counselling; Masters of Aviation Human Factors.
Jo Hamilton is a psychologist with over twenty five years’ experience in the treatment of anxiety, trauma, panic disorder and depression. She has previously been employed as a RAAF psychologist and has maintained her links with aviation, lecturing at the University of South Australia in aviation Human Factors at both an undergraduate and graduate level. She has worked with a variety of aviation organisations, including Emirates airlines.
“People who experience a fear of flying often do so for complicated reasons, including a history of anxiety and trauma. The Flight Experience Adelaide Fear of Flying course is multifaceted, to meet these complicated needs. It combines best practice psychological treatment, discussion with a highly experienced pilot and the opportunity to practice self-management skills in a realistic and supportive environment.”
Clinical Psychologist MAPS MPsych(Clin) BSc(Hons)
Paul is our Perth-based psychologist and has been working since 2001 with people with a wide variety of anxiety disorders, including Generalised Anxiety Disorder, Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder and Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. His other clinical interests include working with depression, relationship and interpersonal difficulties, and concerns stemming from alcohol and drug use. He draws from a wide variety of therapeutic frameworks, including Cognitive-Behavioural Therapy, Psychodynamic Approaches and Brief Solution Focused Therapy.
“I greatly enjoy assisting people to make positive changes within their lives, and the Fear of Flying course with its CBT focus is a first-class way of achieving that.”
Capt. David Evans
Check and Training Captain Airbus A380 Flight Time – 22,000 hours
David is an airline pilot with over 35 years experience in commercial aviation worldwide. He has flown all types of the Boeing 747 and 767 wide-body aircraft as well as the Airbus 330 and 380 Super Jumbo. His role as a Check and Training Captain is to train new pilots on the Airbus A380 and carry out routine checks on those currently flying this aircraft type. David was the Check Captain on the infamous Qantas QF32 that suffered an engine explosion in November 2010 after departing Singapore. David worked closely with the three other pilots on the flight deck to land the aircraft safely back at Singapore Airport.
“It is a privilege to share my experiences and love of flying with those on the “Fear of Flying” course. I get great personal satisfaction from helping to unravel the technical mysteries of modern aviation and witness the joy and relief on the face of those that have completed this course. After all, statistically the most dangerous part of travelling by air is the drive to and from the airport!”
Capt. Bill Anderson
Boeing 747 – Retired Flight Time – 22,300 hours
Bill recently retired from a long career as an airline pilot working for Qantas. Bill brings a wealth of experience to our Fear of Flying Course. Bill has written two books about his life with Qantas and the people he met along the way. Bill is probably one of the nicest people you’ll ever meet and we are very pleased to have him on board with the program.
“A career choice was easy for me…I had aspired to Airline ﬂying from an early age. I began ﬂying lessons at the Royal Aero Club in Perth at age 18 and at the time, Qantas Airways was offering scholarships for entry into a new Cadet Pilot Training Scheme. After rigorous tests, my application was successful and I graduated from my course in early 1969, with the immediate post course ﬂying being on light aircraft doing charter work and instructing. The subsequent 37 years allowed me to ﬂy throughout the Qantas network, operating on most of their aircraft types, before retiring in 2007 as a Captain on the 747-400.
Retirement has given me the opportunity to self-publish two books about the careers and experiences of myself and my colleagues and it was through these books that I met the team at Flight Experience. Over the years, I have had a lot of exposure to passengers with their many concerns about ﬂying, so when asked if I would like to be part of the Fear of Flying Course…you bet, what a great way to put something back into the industry.”
Capt. Greg Fitzgerald
Boeing 747-400 Flight Time – 20,000 hours
Greg is a Qantas long-haul Captain flying the Boeing 747-400. To date, Greg has had an amazing career, starting his working life as a mechanical engineer before moving overseas and fulfilling his passion for flying with a pilot role at a regional airline in PNG. He has spent the last 28 years flying medium and long haul aircraft, racking up over 20,000 hours on the B747’s and the B767. Whilst flying, his training roles have included Senior Check Captain and Check & Training Captain. Airline management roles include Manager Pilot Recruitment, Manager Cadet Training, Manager Training B767 and Manager Training B747. Other training and facilitating roles have been in the areas of Crew Resource Management and Command Management.
“It saddens me that not all people are able to enjoy flying in the way that I do. I’m thankful to be able to help lessen the fear of flying that some people have and get them to look forward to a flight rather than dread it.”
Capt. Chris Hall – Retired
Boeing 747-400 Flight Time – 20,000 hours
Chris is now retired after spending 38 years in aviation. He began his career as an Air Traffic Controller with ratings in all traffic positions including Senior Tower Controller and Approach/Departures Radar. During that time he gained his CPL, I/R, Multi-engine, and instructor ratings. He began flying in PNG before eventually moving to Europe for a command on Dart Herald and F27 with Air UK. Chris has flown for Malaysian Airlines, Oman Air, Orion Air and Inter European Airways before eventually settling at EVA Air in Taiwan flying the Boeing 747-400. He has clocked over 20,000 hours with 11,000 in command of Boeing aircraft.
“After having spent years flying and enjoying every minute of it, I really look forward to helping people overcome their fears around flying. The Flight Experience Fear of Flying Course is extremely thorough and covers all areas that people can be affected by. I can explain flying in simple terminology that is easy to understand.”
Capt. Dave Holbourn AFC – Retired
Boeing 747-400 Flight Time – 15,000 hours
Dave is our Fear of Flying consultant Airline Pilot in South Australia. Dave has over 51 years of flying experience which included 18 years as an RAAF pilot and 25 years with a major overseas airline. With worldwide flying experience which included an exchange programme flying for the United States Air Force together with VIP operations, he has been a flying instructor since 1970. Dave has spent almost his entire career in flying training and was a Senior Check and Training Captain and Simulator Instructor on B747 jumbo jets before his retirement. He continues to teach in a flight simulator and flies his own aeroplane for the sheer joy of it.
“I have really enjoyed being involved with the Fear of Flying programme and working with first class equipment and other pilots who are as professional and passionate about aeroplanes and flying as I am. If you join our programme we will sit together in a classroom and over approximately one and a half hours, with the help of Power Point and an aeroplane model, explore the wonders of flight. Quite often ones fear is fear of the unknown and I will unveil to you the mysteries of a modern airliner. We will see how pilots are trained and continually checked and explore all those previously unexplained sights and noises that you experience during flight. All of the people that I meet during my Aviation Education sessions are unique. Each has a particular concern that I have found to be quite different and everyone has really enjoyed our discussions. My aim is for you to not only enjoy your flying, but to wonder at the beautiful sights and become totally engrossed in the miracle of flight as I have been since I was a little boy.”
Capt. Greg Harper
Boeing 737-800 Flight Time – 14,500 hours
Greg has the distinction of being a graduate of the first tertiary approved pilot course in Australia. In 1987 and 1988 he attended the Australian Aviation College & South Australian Institute of Technology, now the University of South Australia at Parafield, S.A. He graduated with an Associate Diploma in Civil Aviation, CPL/CIR & overall Dux award. (In 1999, Greg completed his Bachelor of Aviation Studies at University of Western Sydney).
Greg went on to complete 3,200 hours of flying in general aviation before going back to university and completing two years of a Bachelor of Science degree at the University of Sydney, majoring in Psychology. In 1995 Greg commenced with Qantas and has flown the Boeing 747-200, 300, 400 and SP, the Airbus A330 and A380 and is now Captain on the Boeing 737-800. He has over 14,500 hours flying experience.
“For my whole life I have wanted to do exactly what I do now…. fly as a Captain for Qantas. The desire and passion comes from within as I never knew anyone in the aviation business. Put simply, it’s all I ever wanted to do!
I’m still passionate about flying and promote it wherever I can. I served as an instructor in the Australian Air Training Corps (now Australian Air Force Cadets) for two years helping young people from 13yrs to 20yrs find their way into adulthood and encourage them into a career in aviation.
The Fear of Flying Course allows me to help a whole different set of people – from all walks of life. With my background in psychological studies I find the clinical aspect of the course really fascinating”.
Capt. Michael Wurm
Boeing 737-800 Flight Time – 14,500 hours
Michael Wurm is a Qantas 737-800 Captain. Based in Melbourne he is involved with our Fear of Flying course and other professional programs run by Flight Experience.
“Flying opens up the world and allows people to see places and experience events otherwise out of reach. I have seen many people, places and things in my over 25 years flying commercial jet aircraft around the world. For over 11 years I have been in command as a Captain of Boeing 737 aircraft. During my career I have also been involved in Air Safety Investigations, Aviation Psychology and peer support. Along with the obvious licence to fly I hold qualifications in education and post incident support.
Unfortunately the joy of flight escapes many people for a number of reasons; together with these people I enjoy unlocking that joy through information and support. With an in depth knowledge of many of the myths of aviation I can correct these misunderstandings.
For nearly two decades I have been active in supporting people in crisis and helping them return to a fully functioning life. To see the relief appear on their faces as they discover that aviation is not as scary as first imagined is a wonderful experience”.
Capt. John Dennis
Airbus A380 – Retired Flight Time – 18,000 hours
John Dennis has had a wonderful and interesting career in the aviation sector as well as position’s in other industries. John first obtained his pilot’s licence in 1972 and worked for Qantas until he retired just a few months ago. John performed many roles within the airline which included flying the Boeing 737, Boeing 747 and the Airbus A380. He received his first command, aboard the B747-400 back in 1990 and even had the good fortune of training John Travolta to fly the 747!
One of the highlights of John’s career was commanding 40 flights to Antarctica including; the first flight to Mt Erebus since 1979, the first flight in recorded history observing a total eclipse of the sun over the Antarctic and the first ever Airbus A380 Antarctic flight.
“I have had over 15 years’ experience with helping people overcome their fear of flying and it’s great to see a program like the Flight Experience course. The opportunity to sit one-on-one with people or even small groups allows me to explain in detail the reasons that airplanes fly and the safety measures in place to keep them in the air.
During my time with Qantas I was in charge of operating a discrete programme to cure some of our top level frequent flyers and corporate clients of their flying fears with a great success rate. Many of these clients are well-known and household names in Australia.”