In Focus

‘No one wanted to hire a good-looking fighter pilot’

Leaving any aviation job can be hard – particularly if you’re a RAAF fighter pilot flying Hornets. There’s probably no person who has managed the transition better than Jim Whalley, who co-founded engineering giant Nova. Here, he talks to Adam Thorn about what possessed him to take the gamble of moving into business.

Where did your passion for aviation come from?

I actually wanted to be a bank teller, but my mother made me join the air force to become a fighter pilot! It probably originated from my father who’d been a pilot during World War II on Boomerangs, Kitty Hawks and Mustangs up in the south-west Pacific. I was surrounded from an early age with stories of flying. Unfortunately, dad died when I was about nine in 1975. My godfather, who had flown with my father, continued that influence though. I always had him around, and he was always telling the stories that kept me interested.

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