Damien Trajkovic is just 22, but he’s been flying half his life – over the past 11 years he’s logged more than 1000 hours in the air. It’s in the family. His dad, John, is a local pilot and pilot instructor and his Sydney-based sister, Cassie, 25 this month, is a Jetstar flight attendant. Not unexpected then that Damien loves to fly and is a high achiever, both on the ground and in the air. A little more unusual, however, is that at such a young age he has just started his own air charter business.
Iwas born at Batemans Bay on the NSW south coast; we moved to Port when I was about seven, in 1994. I went to Tacking Point Primary and then on to Eastport High. Dad had begun learning to fly in Wagga Wagga in his mid-20s, gained his private pilot’s licence and then got his commercial licence when we lived in Batemans Bay. So flying has been in my world all of my life. When we moved to Port Dad flew charter for Wingaway Air, doing medical flights to and from Sydney, and later started his flying school.
I first took the dual controls with Dad at age 11 in 1998 and my first solo flight as soon as the regulations allowed, on my 16th birthday [two days earlier than he got his learner driver’s permit!]. I got my ‘wings’ when I completed my exams the following year, at 17. I also raced go-karts for a hobby for seven years, was club champion a number of times and won titles racing all over Australia.
But ever since I was a young kid I was always around aircraft; it sort of rubbed off on me, I’d say. So when I finished school six years ago I straight away started an aircraft engineering apprenticeship with Avcair aircraft maintenance here in Port. After they closed down, I joined Dad’s business – he owns Pacific Coast Flying School – for a few years while flying and studying for my commercial pilot’s licence. Once I secured my commercial licence I worked over a space of two years for an operator flying to Lord Howe Island, where I gained most of my experience. Since then I’ve been flying for Bill Lane with Australia By Seaplanes at Town Green, doing scenic flights while studying for my airline licence and getting my own business off and running. My sister Cassie’s been helping me starting my business. My mum, Karen, works in insurance for Elders and I still live at home with the family but I’m just looking to buy my first home. Courtney Blundell is my girlfriend of the past four years.
I’ve formed and own Aviation Charters, a charter business based in Port aiming to serve the public with air travel needs Australia-wide 24 hours a day, seven days a week. I started the business in February. I had to borrow some of the money to cover the essential start-up costs and I cross-hire the aircraft of a family friend, a twin-engine 8-seater Piper Navajo. I’m based out of Hanger 9 at the airport where Dad has his flying school. Dad’s helping out too, but it’s mainly just my business. My goal for the business is to expand to a sensible size, to have a second aircraft, employ another pilot – and win some contracts! I’m mainly focusing on around-Australia tours and corporate and private charters with limousine pickups and drop-offs … cruise in style’s the aim! I’m also keen on making a name for travel to special events such as State of Origin matches, Birdsville races, Agquip and so on, and weekend trips to the Gold Coast. (Check out my website aviationcharters.com.au!) If my business goes well I’ll be happy to stay here in Port. I’ve flown to a lot of towns up and down the east coast and I reckon we have one of the best places here. My personal goal’s to have my own successful corporate jet business and work for myself.
I also own an aircraft jointly with a friend – flying is my work and hobby. I love the speed and freedom of flying and being able to fly ‘without [my own] wings’ …”