Mike McFarlane: VP Asia & Australasia (and President Elect)

How did I get into flying?

It’s said that my fascination with flying started at a very young age; reportedly when I was in my pram looking up at aircraft flying across the sky.  But I had to wait until I was 17 years before I started flying lessons. I finally gained my PPL just before my 19th birthday.

And my flying since then? 

Most of my flying is in New South Wales, Queensland and my home state Victoria, however I have flown around Australia a couple of times. Occasionally I have flown over the most shark-infested waters in the world to visit Tasmania and I have also made longer trips to the far North and West of Australia. The Kimberley in Western Australia is just so special, very different from the east coast and worth a visit if the east coast or overseas folk get a chance! Currently, I am flying a Cirrus VH-MSI (my second Cirrus). 

Mike and Sali’s current plane: Cirrus VH-MSI

One of my favourite fly-in spots, is Merimbula, a beautiful small town on the South Eastern New South Wales coast with a beach, river, lake and most importantly a regional airport with one of own IFFR members as the local LAME. What more could you want!!??

The planes I have flown and owned include a Cessna 337G, the famous “push me pull you” centre-line thrust, a Piper Seneca II, a Zlin 242 + two Cirri SR22s (one previously the one I have now).

Mike’s Seneca II
Mike’s Zlin Z-242
Mike’s first Cirrus

Over the years, I’ve held a MECIR (Multi-engine Command IFR Rating) and I now hold a SECIR, having studied at a “mature age” to gain my Commercial Pilot’s Licence.

Do you see aviation as a good medium for service?

Yes, I do.  I am an active Angel Flight pilot.  I recently flew my 100th mission, flying those people who need medical care and either financially or geographically disadvantaged to where they can get that specialist treatment, usually the main teaching hospitals in the capital cities.

Mike flying a grateful angel flight patient for treatment

I have also delivered many Angel Flight presentations to local community organisations as part of increasing the level of awareness of Angel Flight.

How did I get into Rotary and IFFR?

Whilst living in Sydney in 1999 I was asked to join the Rotary Club of Sydney, one of the big clubs DownUnder with circa 300 members, and enjoyed varied roles as I progressed on my Rotary journey. On relocating back to Melbourne, I joined the relatively small local Rotary Club of Kew with circa 68 members at the time and have served in most Club roles including President and two District roles including Assistant District Governor and Vocational Chair.

In the early days after joining Kew I was searching fellowships, I luckily found and quickly joined IFFR.

Sali and I have enjoyed many fly-A-ways to places around Australia with IFFR.  We have made many new aviation and Rotary friends through this great fellowship and we’re very lucky to have had the opportunity to travel and enjoy aviation experiences (in Australia and on post-Convention flyaways) that wouldn’t have happened if we hadn’t been members of IFFR. For most of my flying life, Sali had always been a reluctant flyer, she needed a purpose to fly. Sali only started to enjoy flying in light aircraft when I joined IFFR and COPA (a group for Cirrus folk) and we started going on FlyAways in the Seneca II or Cirrus to exotic new places with friendly faces!!

IFFR membership has made all the difference to her, she now really looks forward to our FlyAways with very enjoyable events at the destinations, great people and fantastic fellowship. 

I am very happy right now to be the Regional Vice President for Asia – Australasia for a second time, and I’m looking forward to serving as your President in a couple of years’ time, having commenced my “apprenticeship” under the guidance of the two Georges!!

How about work and home life?

Reflecting on my employment over the years, I have enjoyed a number of roles beginning with Banks as a junior and ending as an Executive Director in Investment Banking with a smattering of consultancy roles, board positions, real estate sales, property development, property lending and finance; finishing off with aviation sales on my retirement.  Rotary seems to have become my new job!!

Sali and I have been married for 48 years.  We have four sons, two single, two married to wonderful wives blessing us with six grandchildren, five granddaughters and one grandson, now all living nearby in Victoria. 

Mike and Sali’s Christmas 2021 McFarlane family photo

And when I’m not flying?

When I am not flying, I am thinking about flying and or aviation mixed with photography, reading, exercising and of course grandparenting.

And right now, I’m busy with the preparations for the Tango Round the Outback next June. Sali and I look forward to meeting many of you then.

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