Damien Wills has always had his head in the clouds, but instead of being just a dreamer, he has managed to turn many of those aspirations into reality. Seven years ago, he left his unfulfilling, but secure, corporate position to start his own flying school.

“I knew better than to tell too many people, because they would try to talk me out of it,” he said.

Achieving his Pilot Licence by age 16, Damien spent a few years as a charter pilot in the Northern Territory before returning to the east coast and settling into family life for the next 18 years. He had been doing some casual flight instructing on the weekends for a flying school in Caloundra when the owner mentioned that he was selling the school. The only problem? He was struggling to find a buyer.

Damien couldn’t afford to buy it, but that didn’t stop him from seizing the opportunity. He came to an arrangement with the owner, and so, at the height of the global financial crisis, and with less than $1000 in the bank, Damien took a leap of faith.

Today, Damien owns GoFly Aviation, one of Australia’s busiest recreational flying schools. Of course, this success is helped by the fact that the Sunshine Coast and hinterland boasts some of Australia’s most fabulous scenery. There’s no shortage of locals and tourists wanting to soar over the beaches, islands, migrating whales and Glasshouse Mountains.

After starting with only two aircraft and Damien as the only instructor, the school now has five planes and employs six instructors.

Damien has now branched into online content creation.

“I realised that much of what we teach each student is repetitive and could be filmed, then students could watch it over and over on the ground, to save them having to spend money on flying time,” he said.

Soon, he was approached by a film production company and they collaborated on a reality TV show. Over the last few months, they created Taking Flight,

which shows students learning, overcoming failure, and eventually succeeding, as well as the stresses and joys of running a small business dependent on the weather.Damien is a firm believer in the idea that everyone can transform their lives and do work they love. He has just launched the GoFly Cadets scheme, which will offer low-cost flight training for students aged 14-18, supplemented with 360 degree virtual reality simulation training. He has also introduced the inaugural GoFly Cadet scholarship, which will train one Sunshine Coast student from a low income background through to Pilot Certificate level. He has also launched a 360 degree virtual reality training program, the first of its kind in the world.

Damien says that much of the school’s success lies in having a great team.

“I only choose instructors who have a passion for teaching and want to help individuals fulfil their dream of flying. No big egos are allowed,” he said.

Read more about Caloundra here.