We love inspiring role models that showcase where aviation and aerospace careers can take you. Melinda Russell, 33, is a Pilot with the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF). Mel is enthusiastic about flying and shares about the diverse experiences of her daily job.
Tell us about what you do and where you work
I fly the C-130 Hercules aircraft to defend Australia’s borders and national interest. This includes domestic and international flying in the day and night. I am trained in tactical flying including low level, formation operations into short, unprepared (dirt, grass) runways. I can airdrop cargo and paratroopers and have done this in Australia and overseas on military exercises. I am also trained in search and survivor assistance and have dropped an ASRK (Air Sea Rescue Kit that contains life rafts, food and water supplies, radio and first aid equipment) to fishermen who were capsized off the WA coast.
What qualifications and work experience do you have?
I have a Bachelor degree in Technology (Aeronautical Engineering) and a civilian commercial pilots licence.
I was in the Australian Air Force Cadets and I also completed work experience on an Army base prior to joining the RAAF.
When you were a kid, what did you want to be when you grew up?
An astronaut and a hairdresser.
Where do you see yourself in 5 or 10 years?
I am enjoying my career in the RAAF and am looking forward to applying my problem solving skills to a new posting or maybe even a new career in the future; who knows what that might be!
What’s one piece of advice you have for a young person today?
Make a plan and start working towards it. One of my flight instructors always would say “to be extraordinary is to do the ordinary extraordinarily well” which helps remind me that it’s the little things that make a big difference