The aviator


Meet Cameron Blackburn, a true aviator at heart. From a young age, Cam was drawn to flying and has worked hard to achieve his goals. He has a diverse range of experience on different aircraft types. He’s a quiet achiever but his passion for planes is obvious once you get him to talk.

FUN FACT: Cameron and his family built their very own 1989 Batmobile replica in Toowoomba. 


It is hard to pinpoint what triggered my initial interest in aviation as I am the first pilot in my family. However, my earliest memory of flying dates back to being around five years old when I was invited into the flight deck en-route to Norfolk Island. Conveniently, I went to primary school right next to the Toowoomba City Aerodrome so seeing aeroplanes flying overhead really compounded my interest from a young age.

I was 24 when I got my commercial pilot licence.

I have been flying for 3.5 years full time. I started gliding at the Darling Downs Soaring Club and went solo on gliders prior to starting powered flying. After getting my tailwheel endorsement and commercial pilot licence, I towed gliders at the Darling Downs Soaring Club, Narromine Gliding Club and Lake Keepit Soaring Club flying primarily Piper Pawnees and IMCO Callairs.

To date, I have experience on 28 aircraft types, numerous gliders and have had the privilege to fly helicopters and gyrocopters.

My first solo was in 2018 in a two seater glider at the Darling Downs Soaring Club. Learning to fly gliders was an experience that I shared with some of my closest friends so there was definitely some competition as to who would go solo first, but at the end of the day it was the journey getting to that stage and trusting the instructors judgement as to when we were ready. When the instructor jumped out of the glider, the reality that I was about to fly solo didn’t hit me until I realised the gravity of the situation – I would have to land by myself, with no one to assist!

My greatest achievement so far (whether good or bad) is holding the current record for the fastest completion of a commercial pilot license at the flight school I attended. 

My greatest challenge so far when it comes to flying is being self-analytical about my flying and closely reviewing after the fact how I could have improved or done things differently – for example: after a bad landing, circuit join or radio calls.

My biggest inspiration during my flying career has been Bob Hoover, one of the world’s greatest aviators and someone who I aspire to imitate in all facets of my flying. 

During my studies at the University of Southern Queensland, I was employed as a Student Ambassador where my primary role was to inspire the next generation of students to consider aviation as a career path. It was a rewarding job so the transition to becoming an instructor enabled me to foster that same inspiration. In addition, it is great to watch students progress and achieve their flying goals.I really enjoy helping others learn from my mistakes.

The team at Stick ‘n Rudder are a great bunch of people where we all share a common interest. Each day at Stick ‘n Rudder doesn’t feel like work, rather, another day flying cool planes and teaching people the art of mastering the tail wheel. 

If I could give myself one piece of advice when learning to fly it would be to enjoy the journey and process and that it isn’t a race to the top. Everyone has their own journey in aviation and there are a multitude of avenues to take in the industry.

Besides the great flying that we have on the east coast, my favourite place to fly is Lake Keepit NSW.

I would love to do some off airport flying in the United States and explore the country low and slow.

Given the opportunity, I would love to fly a Boeing B-17 Flying Fortress.

A funny story that is flying related would probably be when I was finished doing some aerobatics with a friend west of Brisbane and my old instructor called me up on the radio and said to look out to my right wing – we joined formation and had a great chat on the radio.