Dad’s happy his sons have soared past him
THEY learned the ropes of flying at the South Grafton aerodrome; cruising around the sky in a little Decathlon.
Now, Kris Sieczkowskis flies F18 fighter planes for the Royal Australian Air Force, and older brother Nicholas spends his days in the cockpit of C17 Globe Masters.
Chances are you've also met, or at least seen, their father, Andy "Ski" Sieczkowskis, who performs aerobatic displays in Grafton skies for events such as Bridge to Bridge.
Ski, a flying instructor and former champion skydiver, said he was not surprised both his sons chose aviation as a career path.
"When they were in high school I asked them if they wanted to learn to fly and they said yes, so I taught them," he said.
School holidays for Nicholas and Kris were soon jam-packed with flying lessons; not something many teens were doing at that age.
At 18 Nicholas went off to the RAAF followed two years later by Kris, then 17.
"The oldest one always wanted to (get into the Air Force) and the little brother always wanted to do what
ever his big brother did," Ski said.
"So it doesn't surprise me - they've been involved in aviation all their life."
Ski said he could not be more proud of his boys, now 26 and 24
"They left me way behind - I'm in absolute awe of them," he said.
"To have achieved what they have at such a tender age is pure dedication.
"I never knew how hard getting into the RAAF was until my boys did it."
Nicholas is between Afghanistan and Pakistan and Kris is based at Tindal in the Northern Territory.
Ski said his love for flying stemmed from his passion for skydiving.
"I represented Australia twice (for skydiving) in 1972 and 75," Ski said.
"And it was in 75 at Warendorf Germany, where we won silver at the world championships, that I saw an aerobatics display.
"That's what kicked me off - it was like an epiphany."
Back at flying school in Bundaberg, Queensland, Ski learnt the art of aerobatics and has been doing it ever since.
Nowadays when he isn't doing loops in the sky, sending audiences into complete awe, he works on crop dusters on properties in central Queensland.
He said having the ability to fly still excited him no end.
"Flying is a miracle - you sit in this thing perched up in the air - it's awesome," Ski said.
"I still can't imagine what life would be like without being able to fly."
By early next year he hopes to have his flying school up and running out of the South Grafton aerodrome.