Today’s Flight Plan
Red Bull Air Racer + RAAF Top Gun Instructor + Cool Guy= Matt Hall. Yes, today we talk with a Red Bull Air Racer, Matt Hall.
Red Bull Air Racing is known as some of the most extreme flying done in the world. It’s also one of the few publicly competitive aviation ‘sports’.
If that wasn’t enough, Matt Hall also served in the RAAF (Royal Australian Air Force) for 18 years, became a Top Gun Instructor, flew for the US Military in an exchange program in F-15Es, and much more.
We talk to Matt about his near death experience as a Red Bull Air Racer, the rigors of the racing schedule, the triumph of being on the podium, family life as a racer, time in the military, service in a war zone, and much more.
This is a can’t miss episode.
Huge thanks to Matt Hall for the great episode. He was so candid about his crazy experience crashing, and all of the other great topics we talked about as well. Best of luck, Matt, in the coming months of racing. You’re an inspiration to us all, and we wish you the best!
Major thanks to the amazing Angle of Attack Crew for all their hard work over the years. Our team works incredibly hard, and they’re very passionate about what they do.
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Busting pylons at 200 knots, this is AviatorCast episode 54!
Calling all aviators, pilots, flight sim enthusiasts and aviation lovers, you’ve landed at AviatorCast! Join us weekly in our efforts to become better masters of the air through interviews, refreshers, lessons, training topics, simulator set-up, hangar talk, news and more! Buckle up and prepare yourself for this week’s episode of AviatorCast! Preflight complete, fuel on board and flight plan filed. Let’s kick the tires and light the fires! Here’s your humble host, Chris Palmer!
Chris: Welcome, welcome, welcome aviators, you’ve landed at AviatorCast. My name is Chris Palmer, I’m the host of this podcast, I’m a pilot myself, I also love flight simulation pretty much anything that flies I absolutely love it and I love being involved with this industry each and every day. So here at AviatorCast we interview some great people, we talk about some awesome topics not only in flight training but also in flight simulation. So welcome to the show, we really hope that you get something out of this podcast and out of the wonderful material that we try to provide for you.
So welcome to this the 54th episode of AviatorCast we just entered our second year and we have some changes that are coming about on the show. We’re going to talk about that a little bit today so welcome to the show. So today we are joined by a very special guest who is Matt Hall. Matt Hall is an aviator down under, he flew for the Royal Australian Air Force for 18 years flying F-18s and also did some work with the U.S. Air Force, United States Air Force in F-15s. But his current line of work is he is a Red Bull Air Racer, that’s right he is one of very few pilots on the Red Bull Air Racing team the travels the world and does those amazing events that we all see.
We talk a lot about that on the show and also we talk about achieving your dreams. This ended up being one of the better podcast ever on AviatorCast and it’s just absolutely fantastic. So I can’t wait to get into that with you guys. Stay tuned and we’ll get into that here in a few minutes. First of all I mentioned last week that I wanted to tell you guys what was going to improve here on AviatorCast during our second year. So I wanted to talk a little bit about the bullet points here on some things that are going to change, some things are going to improve. I don’t want to spend a lot of time talking about this bit I think you guys will be excited about several of these things.
First off we’re going to have two new segments, they’re not going to happen every week they’re just going to happen on an as-needed basis. I’m not going to do it this week because the interview is Matt Hall ran a little long definitely worth your time. So I don’t want to do it this week. Those two segments are a flight simulation news segment and also a flight training news segment. The idea behind these two segments is to share with you the most pertinent news happening in the industry, you know things, simulator software that has been released, improvements that have been found, things like that. And then also similar for flight training news, what’s going on out there in actual flight training you know, in particular with simulation and also with flight training as a whole.
Five minutes or less on each one of those, we don’t want to extend the length of the podcast too much. But we are gaining a little bit of time in simplifying the way we do the intros on the show too and the outtros. You guys will see that here and so we’ve gained a little bit of time but we’re also going to be spending a little bit of time here and there on the flight simulation news and flight training new segments.
Also in the future and this will be rolled out kind of as it happens, I’m thinking of creating a street team for AviatorCast but maybe we should call it The Runway Team, I’m not too sure yet. Our street as pilots, our main street is a runway right? So as part of that I will be sending out printable posters and stickers, things like that you guys can take your local FPO, hang that stuff up and so people can see and join AviatorCast listening to it at their convenience, so that’s coming. Also I talked about the shorter intros and the shorter outtros, that’s just to gain more time getting to the good stuff of AviatorCast, I think that’s straightforward you guys understand that.
Another thing that is really cool coming up is we’re going to start taking audio questions here on the show. So at the beginning of the show we are going to have an audio segment from one of you listeners and that’ll be a fantastic way for you to get on the show and ask your pertinent question being for either flight simulation or for actual flight training. We’ll take all sorts of different kind of questions there. And in addition to that something that’s similar is if you are real pilot go ahead and also submit a story.
So if you have a recent great flying story or a lesson learned then go ahead and share that with us on the show. Now I think it would even be great even if you have to remain anonymous to call in and share your experience. That you had a scary experience you learned from and you don’t necessarily want to out yourself but you feel like it’s a good learning experience, feel free to share that with us. So you know, good stories, bad stories, whatever it is, we’d love to hear your audio stories.
Now here’s the real kicker on this, if you submit an audio question or an audio story you are going to get what is going to come available soon and that is an official AviatorCast T-shirt. So if you submit a question and it is aired on the show or you submit a story and it’s aired on the show you’ll get an AviatorCast T-shirt. Now I’m out there looking for designer for these things right now and then I will have them printed you know, I like this stuff to look top notch and I liked it to be printed on the best kind of shirts generally American apparel tri-blend shirts.
So this will be top notch stuff. So you can actually submit your questions and your stories today, just go to aviatorcast.com and follow the promptings at the bottom there to go through that process and send in your audio question to the show very straightforward and simple process just with a mic right there on your computer. I think you can even do it with a mobile device.
Alright, so also and last thing here is I’m thinking about doing some video for AviatorCast so that might be live here on the show where you guys can join maybe a twitch stream and then we can end up publishing that on YouTube something like that. But using video a little bit more in our interactions here, then if we’re talking about something on the show with someone we can actually showed it on the screen. And during that process you know don’t be too concerned as a listener because I’m always going to be focused on visually telling the story for the listeners as well, I’m never going to get away from that. So this is primarily a podcast but I believe it could be enhanced by some video work as well.
Alright so that is almost it as always we have review that comes from iTunes. Now before I get into this review, I mentioned about the audio questions and the audio stories that they get a free T-shirt. People who get their iTunes review read on the show will also get a T-shirt so there’s the opportunity to send out a couple T-shirts here a week to you wonderful AviatorCast listeners. So again audio question, audio story, or a review on iTunes if it is read or shown on the show then you guys will get a T-shirt and we’ll coordinate all that after that process kind of happens.
So this review from iTunes comes from Perth D. Bob I believe. He gives us five stars he’s from the United States he says, a Happy New Year story. He says, “Chris, great job and much value added to all who much like you bleed hydraulic fluid and breathe avgas fumes. I’m not a pilot but have a few good GA friends who had turned onto your podcast. I had an opportunity to speak to one of them just the other day and he related that he went out flying with an instructor in the right seat even though he already has his card just to log some time and to get an opinion on his skills.”
He said that, “Post flight the instructor complimented him on his overall situational awareness and his competent and confident stick and rudder skills. When asked by the instructor what he’d been doing to develop his skills he told the instructor that he had been talking to a friend, me, about general aviation and some podcast he listened to, AviatorCast and that it rekindled his interest in flight simulation and that is what he attributed to his stick and rudder skills to as well as cockpit efficiencies.
I felt that this conversation told some of your story and demonstrated just what you are adding to all of us in the aviation community through your excellent podcast and your AviatorCast team and all your efforts. Great job Chris and I look forward to this year’s AviatorCast episodes with anxious anticipation.”
Thank you for that review, much appreciated, I really like that story. It’s great that your friend even though he’s been away from the cockpit has felt he’s been connected to airplanes still through simulation and through this podcast. And I also thank you for your efforts in sharing that with him so I really appreciate it. You can leave a review on iTunes very simple we appreciate that, it helps get the news out about AviatorCast. So guys that’s it I’m going to get into this interview now with Matt Hall because it is so great.
I’m sorry we took a little bit more time today in this intro, e central it is one of the layout for you guys was can happen in this new year. It’s going to be a lot shorter than this in the future I promise. We’re just going to get right into it and get into this awesome stuff. So here is Hanger talk with Matt Hall.
Now, a special hangar talk segment…
Chris: Alright everybody, we are honored to have a very special guest with us today, Matt Hall. Thanks for joining us on AviatorCast, how are you doing?
Matt: Well thanks Chris thanks for having me.
Chris: Not a problem at all we kind of hooked up by chance through your media guy. Now you have a bit of a different accent than we usually have on the show. So tell everyone where you’re from and what your current profession is.
Matt: So I’m from the land down under, Australia and my current primary job is to race planes in the Red Bull Air Race.
Chris: And I’m guessing that’s a full-time job right? And you keep pretty busy this time of year at air shows and things?
Matt: Yeah, it’s probably about one and a half full time job to tell you the truth. Well we don’t do a huge amount of races during the year. You’re just trying to run an international race team and run the equipment is a, takes a huge amount of effort. And as you just rightly pointed out, domestically in Australia we do a lot of shows, we have a lot of shows we have a [inaudible][11:31] business and do a reasonable amount of public speaking about motivating people to get out there and chase their dreams and get in to aviation.
So it is a busy lifestyle in particular right now. It’s a very busy time as we’re gearing up for our first race of 2015.
Chris: Awesome. It’s great to have you on the show I know we’re going to have a lot of cool things to talk about. So just kind of start off to the listeners to learn more about Matt Hall as we’re going along here and talking. Go to MattHallracing.com, it has all the links to his Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Instagram, a lot of great material there a lot about Matt. We’re going to bring out a lot of that during the show here but just so you know and so you can follow along and know exactly who we’re talking to here and put a face to a name.
Matt as always we start off with the question that everyone gets to answer and that is, how did you fall in love with aviation?
Matt: I fell in love with aviation thanks to my dad basically. My dad’s a pilot, he was flying in, when I was born he was already a private pilot. His father before him was a pilot in World War II. So by the time I was a couple years old I was spending a lot of time in the cockpit with him. So I always knew I was going to be a pilot, it was just a matter of what type of pilot and how I was going to pay for it really.
Chris: So give us a little timeline, you know, young years, you said you started off flying at a couple years old basically which doesn’t surprise me. I’ve heard people taking their babies home from the hospital and having to stop it at the airport on the way. But tell us a little bit how your flight training went and how you gained experience and how early you got into things.
Matt: Yeah, I started flying with my dad about 5 years onwards pretty consistently. The main topic line was sitting in the right hand seat of an old Oster and towing gliders and then that progressed to sitting in the hopper of a [inaudible][13:40] while he was towing gliders. So I then took up gliding when I was 14 and I guess that’s where I did most of my flying with my dad.
So I went solo at 15, started flying ultralights at 16, hang gliders ate 17. I got my restricted pilots license at 18 and joined the military straight out of there and was fortunate enough to go straight into pilot training after 13 weeks of officer training. So I was flying Air Force aircraft as a teenager which was pretty special for me.
Chris: Wow that’s pretty wild. So I have a lot of specific questions I guess about how it’s set up in Australia. So what’s the typical path for a teenager as far as years to getting to a license in Australia?
Matt: There’s a fairly big change in the way things are done at the moment. I think this happens all over the world with light sport aircraft, it’s, there’s people flying at a younger age in powered aircraft and quite often doing a bit cheaper than you can in in general aviation aircraft. But I’m seeing people as, you know in their mid-teens, 15, 16 going and doing all of their training and getting their license. In fact I’m seeing a lot of people getting into sport aviation quite young. A lot of teenagers getting into aerobatic competitions and things which is great to see and people learning how to really fly the aircraft and do all the upset maneuver training etcetera.
So the flying in Australia is strong and healthy, there is a young generation that are taking it up and it’s across the board. We’ve got a lot of the classic old school, ultralights, we’ve got more modern aircraft. Gyrocopters are really starting to get a go here in Australia as well and people are learning how to fly all these aircraft all over Australia. So, it is a promising industry and it is really good to see everyone still getting into it.
Chris: So along those lines for a teenager in Australia and I’d imagine it’s the same way whether you’re actually in the UK or US, what are some of the best things that they can do to prepare to be in a position that you are in to get into the Air Force there in Australia, the Royal Australian Air Force? To be in a position like that or you know, just to go out and get maybe an airline job or a pilot job, what can they best do to prepare in those teen years?
Matt: What I tell the younger generation that often ask me that question, how can I get to where you are? A pretty sharp knowledge, doing a lot of study and a lot of reading is half the battle or more than half the bottle. Because if you want to get a job in aviation and you turn up to a potential employer whether it’s a scholarship in an airline or whether it’s going to the Air Force to ask to be a pilot to get a job up there, if you turn up, they’re going to start asking you some questions to find out how passionate you are and how driven you are to be a pilot in that industry.
And if, they don’t necessarily expect that everyone has flown a plane because they’re not, these big companies aren’t going to discriminate against people that don’t have the financial resources to get a pilot’s license versus people that do have the financial resources. But what they’re going to ask is how much of your own time and effort have you put into learning about this career? So you can imagine if someone’s turning up you know, for an interview to become an Air Force pilot and in the interviewer says, have you done any flying and they say yeah, I’ve done a reasonable amount of flying.
And they say well what’s going to happen when you join the Air Force? Which basically you’re going to go to, what aircraft you’re going to fly? What’s the performance characteristics of a PC9? You say, I don’t know versus another person that turns up and they say have you done any flying and you say no I haven’t been able to afford it at this stage of my life. But then they ask them the same question, this person can rattle [inaudible][18:04] Perth to do some training on a PC9 which has a VNA of 320 knots. Uses a PT68 and all of a sudden they’re going to go, well obviously we know who the more passionate person is.
So it doesn’t come down to what you’re flying and how many hours you’ve got which is often a misconception with pilots, they end up comparing who’s got the most hours. But that doesn’t really show who’s got the most passion or natural ability. So that’s really what an employer is looking for, how much passion do you have for your career and that comes through reading and study and knowledge.
Chris: One question that I actually didn’t prep you on but what is your view of flight simulation in those teenage years? You know flight simulation obviously these days is better than it’s ever been just by virtue of technology becoming better. Do you see that as a useful tool to prepare future pilots?
Matt: Definitely, I think simulation both high fidelity simulation, low fidelity simulation in procedure training, I’m a huge fan of visualization which is really another form of simulation that costs nothing. I think those three items can one, substantially decrease the cost of training. Two, greatly increase the safety because you can just really challenging emergency situations without risking the aircraft by pulling the engine after takeoff and things like that.
And three, you can get so much value out of your training to become a much better pilot for the amount of hours flown. Because it allows you to repeat over and over and over and over landing an aircraft or doing a [inaudible][19:55] or flying ILS. For instance in the military we practice intercepts over and over and over and we just reset the aircraft at 50 miles apart you know in a Hornet and then you fly intercept and that makes 90 seconds.
Matt: And then we set the aircraft 50 miles apart and then do it again. So repetitive training is a key and you get to do it without simulators whereas you don’t get to do it well in real life.
Chris: Just the answer I would’ve asked for because we’re big believers in simulation and prepping people that way and you know, especially in today’s world where teenagers are so connected to video games. That’s not such a bad thing, I know there’s a negative connotation to that but if you can connect to it in a useful way through something like simulation then you can build those skills. And if you take it very seriously obviously it can lead to maybe not an easier road but a better prepared road for those that choose to use that tool.
Matt: I was just going to say, very much so I agree, I say you can’t fly simulators at air shows these days they just [inaudible][21:07] so. Then they just really got to get beyond, develop the tact off skill of flying a real aircraft which you know, still needs to be one. But getting the procedures down pat in the simulators is definitely the way to achieve it.
**Chris:* So let’s talk about your military experience now because you have quite a big career there. So take us through that now, so take us through the beginning kind of a summary of what your military career was like and the different positions you moved through. And the different airplanes maybe you got to fly. And then we’ll break that down a little bit more with some more questions.
Matt I joined when I was a teenager as I mentioned earlier. I only did about 13 weeks of military indoctrination and then I was thrown into a CT4 trainer. I did about six months on that graduated up to the PC-9, the Pilatus PC-9 turboprop which I got my wings on and then was sent to [inaudible][22:08] I ended up flying [inaudible][22:11] lead in fighter and then on to the F-18. On the Hornet itself I did a couple of tours in the operations squadron, ended up doing our Top Gun School Court Fighter Combat Instructor Course. And then instructing on that course before I was sent to America on an exchange program to fly the F-15E Strike Eagle.
Matt: In America on the F-15 I ended up in combat operations as well in the Middle East. Prior to coming back to Australia on the F-18 where I sort out my career as a Wing Commander still flying the Hornet through a number of different positions but basically having an 18 year career in the end and the whole time I was I was flying the jets. So it was, in hindsight it was a very fast career. If I was back as a teenager again looking forward, I’ve got, I’m going to be in the Air Force for 18 years, you’ve got to be kidding me that’s my whole life again. So I done my lifetime when I was in the Air Force but it went in a heartbeat.
Chris: And literally too it went fast flying those types of jets…
Chris: I guess a random question is what’s your favorite between the F-15 and the F-18?
Matt: Yeah it’s a pretty common question that one. It’s, I’d probably say that it depends what you’re going out there to do. So if I was going out there just to throw a plane around and have fun, yeah, play with some clouds and just go in and join the aircraft, a clean skin Hornet is pretty fun plane. But when it’s got no ordinance on it, it’s got no tanks or weapons, it’s a great toy that’s for sure.
But if you’re going to go and get shot at, you know, in the theater of operations the F-15 was definitely, the version I was flying was definitely more capable and I felt more secure going into very dangerous situations in the F-15E.
Chris: That’s kind of interesting because the F-18 now, maybe you flew a version that was, I guess one of the earlier versions, but now isn’t it one of the more advanced Strike aircraft?
Matt: Yeah, so the Super Hornet E and the F models is a more advanced Striker aircraft than the classics I was flying, A models that had been upgraded to C models.
Chris: Okay that makes sense.
Matt: Yeah. So our C models were still quite capable. They being retrofitted with [inaudible][24:52], night vision googles, high foresight weapons, smart weapons but still the classic Hornets, they didn’t carry as much and their defensive capabilities weren’t as good at the time either. Yes so that Super Hornet is a different kettle of fish, the Strike Eagle though, I still think it, the modern-day Strike Eagle still outperforms the Super Hornet. But in my opinion having never operated a Super Hornet, I’ve flown it sims a few times, but the Strike Eagle is quite amazing aircraft with its capabilities.
Chris: So what aircraft was it that you flew when you were deployed in the Middle East?
Matt: That was in fact the F-15E so I was getting shot at, you know dropping a lot of weapons in that aircraft. So it, always glad to have that aircraft wrapped around my little thin body.
Matt: There were AAA shells and missiles oozing past me.
Chris: I guess you’d have to come to trust whatever you’re flying or distrust one way or another in a situation like that or situations like that.
Matt: Exactly and if I was in a Hornet I would still trust the aircraft. I’m not saying I didn’t trust the aircraft, I’m saying that the F-15 had that just a little more capability in offensive and defensive posture.
Matt: So it was easy to stay alive and you could actually inflict more pain on the opposition while doing it.
Chris: Well that’s what’s we all want at the end of the day if there is war. So…
Chris: Alright. So okay, so here’s my question. We’ve all seen the movie Top Gun, now tell us what Top Gun school is really like. I know that you know, you have the Australian version there but tell us what it’s really like. Is it really that intense? Is it really that competitive? Tell us a little about it.
Matt: No we generally just ride around in our motor bikes and our shades off…
Chris: And play volleyball and that sort of thing.
Matt: Exactly, that’s all it really is. Now, Top Gun’s actually, it’s harder than what you see on television, it’s more intense. It’s basically, I’ve done probably, in the end I probably did, number of years doing the Top Gun school where I was an instructor and then became the Chief instructor at the school. It’s taking the profession of being a fighter pilot to the absolute top level if it’s possible. So you’re basically getting a Master’s degree in being a fighter pilot you cram it all into a six month course. So these days you know that one was originally designed around Vietnam to increase the ratio of getaway kills.
So they were concentrating purely on dog bites and close range intercept and tactics whereas when you look at what the modern-day Strike fighter can do, the number of roles that it covers and the weapon is that its uses, you’ve got to become a master on every single role and weapon while doing a six-month course. So it’s very intense, it’s very competitive, it’s very humbling, I think Top Gun has an image of yes, swaggering fighter pilots with a lot of ego. But you generally don’t find a lot of arrogant Top Gun pilots because they’ve been humbled in their training.
You get a lot of arrogant guys going into the course but typically when they graduate they’ve been humbled and have a different perspective on life about who they thought they were when they went in and what they come out. They definitely come out extremely confident, but confidence is the difference of being arrogant and I think that often people confuse a confident top gun pilots with being arrogant and generally it’s just being he’s quite confident because he knows he’s been tested to the absolute limit and he’s come through.
Chris: That’s really interesting to know because you know, even in the general aviation space airlines everything there’s that human factor right? Where arrogance or an ego or whatever it is, is very detrimental to safety so it’s really cool to hear that through Top Gun they actually become more humble. And humility is actually a key word that we use at the beginning of our show to say what we you know, believe pilot should be like what we should all be like. So that’s really cool to know that inside information.
Matt: Yeah and I’m always pushing that you know, arrogance has no place in aviation. Unfortunately ego and arrogance is in aviation quite a bit.
Matt: But, I tell people that you want to be confident but you don’t want to be arrogant and the way I define it is a confident person will listen to advice but will still go about, when he commits to something still goes about it with the intent that he’s going to be success-, he or she is going to be successful.
Matt: When an arrogant person won’t listen to advice and commits to an event or a flight thinking that nothing will go wrong.
Chris: Right and a lot of the times it’s just getting out of your own way, right? Just letting go of your own stuff and letting safety kind of take over.
Matt: Exactly. You’ve got to, you’ve just got to, you got to understand that no one’s perfect, you don’t know everything. And that’s what I see going into Top Gun school quite often they go in arrogant because they think they already know everything in there the kingpin going into Top Gun school. Because they were the big fish in a small pond in their own squadron and go into Top Gun school and get their buts absolutely waxed by the instructors. And they go, oh, I wasn’t as good as I thought I was.
Matt: And as soon as a pilot can admit that they are not as good as they thought they were, that’s the first stage of breaking the arrogance back.
Chris: So it’s almost that boot camp mentality and correct me if I’m wrong but that boot camp mentality of breaking them down to build them back up which is pretty, pretty, I guess prevalent in the military, is that is that correct or?
Matt: It’s not a deliberate thing to break people down and build them back up again but it often happens that way if someone, if someone does come in arrogant we will break them.
Matt: We will, but if someone comes in that it’s got good potential but is not, doesn’t seem to have the confidence at the moment we won’t break them…
Matt: We’ll encourage them to go and have a go so we might, if were doing dogfighting for example with someone that’s not quite got enough confidence but has potential will fly around and give them, deliberately give them small opportunities to try and get the go on it so they realize they can do it. Whereas if someone out there that is good but they think they are the best will just hose them.
Chris: Great. Taking them out, taking them out and taking them down I guess.
Chris: Or build them up. So tell us a little bit more about your exchange with the US military because I find that interesting. It reminds me of what was done during World War II with American pilots and British pilots where Americans went over to Britain. I didn’t know that that was kind of a modern-day thing. So tell us a little bit about that and also I’d like to hear a little bit about what it was like being deployed. Obviously there are things you can’t share but I’d like to just hear your personal experience a little bit on what it was like.
Matt: Yeah so the exchange program there alive and well with the modern-day air forces. Reason being there are so many coalition ops going on around the world where your Air Forces are working together in hot spots. So they have these exchange programs to make sure that we’re all speaking the same tactical language and using the same methods.
So that when we get together you know in a crisis situation it’s reasonably seamless for the different forces to work to get there because we’ve had these individuals cross pollinating our ideas, both learning and presenting to a different Force. So I went over as a Top Gun instructor basically to the United States Air Force squadron in North Carolina on the F-15E, obviously we had to do a conversion on the aircraft first because it’s a different type.
Matt: Then my role there was to instruct ab initio F-15 pilots, pilots who had their wings obviously.
Matt: I was instructing them how to fly the F-15 and how to operate it tactically both the pilot and it’s a two-seater so [inaudible][34:08] weapons system officer I was instructing them how to use the aircraft to its maximum potential. I was also there to train their higher end qualified pilots the way to be an instructor or prepare them for Top Gun school.
I did not instruct in the top gun school for the US, I was involved with it but I wasn’t an instructor there, but I would assist the guys preparing for Top Gun school by working with them, teaching them how to use the aircraft the best [inaudible][34:46]. If they were arrogant I’d start the breakdown process early.
So that’s kind of how that was going I was posted to the US, well I received my posting orders to the US in the middle of 2001. About 2 months after I received the orders but I hadn’t departed yet was when 911 occurred. So I still went over, I went over at the end of 2001 only 2 months after 911and America was obviously in a bit of a different situation mentally and on a bit of a war footing. The Noble Eagle sorties were flying overhead, 24 hour cap overhead Washington when I arrived.
Everyone was pretty burnt out I went and did my conversion and then basically operation Iraqi Freedom came up and I was shipped out to the Middle East with, attached to one of the Operations squadrons because my primary squadron was a training squadron for training people but I was attached to one of the operations squadron and sent off to the Middle East in preparation into the war.
Chris: So with that process you are essentially part of the US military taking orders from the US military right?
Matt: It was a funny situation, that’s an interesting question because I was still an Australian citizen, I was an Australian officer at the time I think I was a squadron leader. I was under the command of my Commanding Officer in the F-15 squadron who was under command basically from the President of the United States. But I was still limited in what I could do had to be approved directly through our government Australian government. So they had to actually limited or not make an individual set of rules and engagements for me to dictate what I could and could not do.
So if I was held up in war court afterwards I had, it was very clear what my rules of engagement were and what I could attack and what I could do. So it was an interesting situation to have my own piece of paper to say what I could do and couldn’t do, who I could bomb and who I couldn’t bomb. But in the end it wasn’t restrictive for me, it just meant I had to be very clear on who my boss was and why reported to and what I had to make sure I did right and avoid any mistakes. If I made any mistakes I had two bosses to answer to.
Chris: That’s actually more complicated than I thought it would be complicated than I thought it would be. I thought it would just be kind of, this guy’s in charge of you now here you go sort of thing But that’s interesting.
Matt: Yeah, well the good news is I had two forms of bartering. In fact if the worst case occurred and I was shot down, I could negotiate as an American hostage or if that wasn’t working for me I could put my other hat on and negotiate as an Austrian and hostage and see what they could do for me.
Chris: Nice, so how does your, from there how did your military career play out?
Matt: I ended up after the combat ops, I ended up back in the US for another year and a half from the F-15E there. I went and bought an aerobatic plane and started doing some competitions in America on the side.
I was sent back to Australia at the start of 2005 and I brought my aerobatic plane home with me as my little being on deployment gift for myself and ended up, that’s where I became the Chief instructor of the Top Gun school in Australia. Ended up introducing night vision goggles into Australia under the Australian Hornet based on the night vision goggle experience I had when I was flying the F-15.
Chris: Oh wow.
Matt: went to a few squadrons there, was promoted to Wing Commander and was working in a flying desk job so I was in a headquarter position in charge of acquisitions and development of the F-18. I was still flying with all the squadrons when I resigned, took up Red Bull racing.
Chris: And that’s the perfect Segway. How in the heck did you make that leap maybe it’s not even a leap because I mean being that high up in the Royal Air Force, sorry the Royal Australian Air Force is quite a big thing but how did you transition to Red Bull Air Racing? Tell us about that story.
Matt: It all came about because as I said I brought an aircraft home from America with me. It was a Gyros 202 so basically an unlimited aerobatic mono airplane. And so I was just find that on weekends and then ended up over the first red bull air racing Australia was in 2006. Then we took my squadron over, we sort of did some demo flights and walked around instead of trying to encourage people to join the Air Force and then I got talking to a couple of the pilots who were in the race you know, just sort of say get out, I was wearing a flying suit and they asked if I was flying the Hornet, we ended up being together basically.
Matt: It was Nigel Lambs, said, you’re the some sort of guy were looking for because we’re looking for some younger guys. He said I personally think that some military pilots would be great to have. You’ve got all this experience and you already fly unlimited aerobatic so you should have a chat with the management. So we did the management said I was an interesting person, they said I still needed to qualify in all the normal way, so there was no shortcuts for me.
The qualifying to be invited to a training camp was that you had to have, there was a number of things, you had to have a surface wave of the aerobatics, you had to have your own aerobatic display company but most importantly you had to be competing on the world stage in world aerobatic in unlimited and graduating in the top half of the field which was quite a challenge for an Australian to have to be out and go to Europe to compete in unlimited.
But my wife and I we decided that if they were interested in me we were interested in them so without any promises of our results our jobs afterwards. I took a long service leave from the Air Force and basically lived in Europe for eight months and trained my heart out in unlimited aerobatics with a coach Patrick Paris who was a previous world champion and was able to qualify as they needed me to. I then received an invite to a rookie camp where we fly around pylons in the racetrack just to see how we do with it. Apparently I did all right with it and they then offered me a job as a race pilot.
So it was a lot of hard work, it was a lot of commitment, there was a bit of a financial risk because nothing was guaranteed and it cost us a lot of money to go and live in Europe and train when you’re in Australia. What you know, I’m a big believer that if you got the dream, dreams aren’t free, you got the dream you got to commit, but if you commit hard enough you can make dreams come true. So that’s exactly what I did, I had a dream that I’d love to be an Air Bull Air Race pilot. We mortgage the house, that’s how we paid for it.
Matt: I had a dream, we committed, we worked hard and it paid off.
Chris: Fantastic and I think that’s a great lesson for anyone to flying. There’s always a sacrifice you know, it’s kind of a 99% rule things are 1% inspiration and 99% perspiration. It takes a lot of hard work to make these things happen.
Matt: Yeah exactly and people look at what I do, I have it all the time people come up and go, oh you lucky so and so. I’ll say, yep, I worked bloody hard to be this lucky actually.
Chris: Right. Exactly, yeah. I mean you didn’t you just fall into the job right? You weren’t the son of some rich guy that just kind of shooed you in. You didn’t buy your way into it in any sense, you had to basically go there and do the work regardless, so.
Matt: Exactly, I had to take a bank loan to get this. So there was no privileges financially, there was no favors coming my way. I had a dream and there was a lot of times I felt like throwing the towel in. But no it’s, you never find anyone who’s successful in life that hasn’t had to battle through some pretty dark times to get there.
Chris: So we skipped over something pretty important in that timeframe, somewhere at the end of your military career you got married and did you start a family? Tell us about that just briefly.
Matt: Yeah, yeah so I got married in 2005 so, my wife she was working in America as well on the exchange program as a doctor in the Air Force. So we were in adjoining states in America so we ended up spending a lot of time with each other for three years over there. We got engaged while we were still in America, in fact standing on the heal of first flight where the Wright Brothers were doing their flying.
Chris: Oh man, how romantic is that?
Matt: Yeah, that’s about as romantic as I get. So probably set a high bar there and tried to achieve it ever since. But anyway we got married in 2005 and I had a son and yeah family life is great, I really enjoy having the support of my family. I wouldn’t be where I am, doing what I’m doing if I didn’t have my family support actually because there’s, I wouldn’t be able to make the decisions I have without having people very close to me helping me make those decisions and then supporting me through the hard times.
Because to do things on your own like I’ve done, you know, I would have burnt out, I would have doubted myself and I probably would’ve pulled out. So having, there’s a few things that I think are essential for success and having a supported team closely wrapped around you is essential. That team can be employees, it can be friends it can be family, I’m fortunate enough that I’ve got all three around me which allows me to go beyond where I think I’m able and go hard [inaudible][45:37].
Chris: Fantastic and the reason that question came up for me is because you mentioned that it was very difficult to transition to kind of the Red Bull dream you know. You said you mortgaged the house, took out a bank loan, took a lot of risks, I’m sure that not only that shouldering that risk with a great companion but also having kind of a voice of reason which I think our wives do for us all the time. I’m sure that that was tremendously helpful in that transitionary process.
Matt: Yeah very much so. People often joke about and they go, where’s your wife from? How did this happen? But you know, it’s, she wasn’t stupid about what she was encouraging me to do. We, you know we sat down, we came up with a business plan and you know we were prepared to sacrifice our savings to have a go and you know those supportive partners they’re all around the world helping their wives their husbands their partners helping people make those hard decisions because life can be very lonely.
They say life’s lonely at the top and exactly what they’re talking about you know is when you stop having an equal partner to talk to and spur you on when the going stuff it does get lonely and you can actually doubt yourself to the extent that you just pull out. So it was very much an important part of the process of getting to where I am and it continues to be a very important part of my life, the most important part of my life.
Chris: Right and I’m sure you feel much the same way I do where I absolutely love aviation it’s a huge part of my life. I’m sure it’s a much larger part of your life that it is even mine but family and a wife and kids, I don’t have kids yet but I do have a wife, that is one of the few things that is more important than aviation the world to me.
And it’s just something we can’t do without. You know all this flying stuff is kind of meaningless without those people behind us to support us and even those people being there to share all the wonderful things with. You know, I’m sure that in your situation you went through wonderful triumphs and difficult times and you got to share all that together and that a rich history together is something that just cannot be replaced.
Matt: Exactly and my wife have got great memories of aviation together and my son’s starting to build, yeah he start a bank of memories. You know, he flies and everything with me, helicopters and aerobatic planes and [inaudible][48:15] and it hasn’t been a flight with a jet fighter with me. He kind of did g in a jet fighter with me actually because my wife was pregnant when I had my last flight in an F-15 with her so.
Chis: Oh wow, no kidding.
Matt: So he’s kind of been in an F15 flight he just doesn’t remember it.
Chris: That’s wild I’ve never heard of that before a pregnant lady on a fighter jet, geez.
Matt: We didn’t know that she was pregnant at the time so…
Chris: Okay, well you get a pass then.
Matt: [Inaudible][48:44] flying in an F-15.
Chris: Wow, how cool is that? Alright so let’s talk about life as a Red Bull Air Racer. First of all, I guess this is a big question that you probably answer all the time so you have a pretty good answer, but what is it like to race in a Red Bull Air Race?
Matt: It’s a lot of fun actually, it’s, sometimes it’s like any sport, sometimes you can get caught around the axle with frustration or being too competitive or worrying about the results. But when you just sit back and relax and go for a fly on the racetrack it’s about the best flying I’ve ever experienced. It’s, you know, it’s hard to explain what it’s like to be flying around at 200 knots plus at about 40 feet going, flying as close as you can to objects in within one or 2 feet of objects, sometimes touching them and while you’re doing this you’re downtown.
Chris: Right, exactly.
Matt: I must admit, the first few races I flew in 2009, I would land and I had this overwhelming sense of guilt. I’d taxi up after going through the racetrack I met be flying under the bridge in Budapest past parliament house going around the pylons and then land like a kid that’s being called up to the principal. And my stomachs in knots and I feel a bit sick.
It took me a while to realize what was going on, I was feeling like I was going to get in trouble because deep down inside me what I had just done you know that’s not legal. I’ve done something completely illegal and I am going to get thrown in jail for what I had just done. Now going under a bridge in the Danube and then flying around these pylons in front of parliament house and 800,000 people come in and land in again. Surely I misunderstood what I was supposed to be doing and what I did was illegal.
Chris: Gosh, yeah that’s got to be strange.
Matt: Oh yes, you’re doing everything you spent your whole career being told not to do. You know, we’re going to low fly, we’re going to go under a bridge, where going to hit something and we’re going to pull 12 G in front of 800,000 people. It’s like, it’s everything you’re told not to do.
Chris: Wow, that’s strange. Alright so I’m on YouTube right now, all I did was I typed in Matt Hall. The first…
Matt: You saw a plane crash didn’t you?
Chris: I believe that’s a mistake. But the first video is Dangerous Water Touchdown – Matt Hall in the Detroit River. Did you even know that happened? So tell us about that.
Matt: Yeah, I definitely knew it happened. So basically it was a bad day in the office that’s for sure. It was a classic Swiss cheese moderate accident where there were so many things lining up for that particular incident where a smarter man would say let’s not fly. But I was so wrapped around the axle with racing so I made a poor decision to fly that day.
I really should have been at home in bed so in the end the bottom line is I geez to the aircraft when coming out of the gate I then turned and I G stalled the plane. We often fly right on the buffet when we’re at those altitudes.
But I’ve gone through the buffet, stalled the aircraft, the aircraft typically roll left when you stall them due to the torque of the propeller and its rules, it was a left-hand turn unfortunately it’s rolled at left, ended up slightly in my back at 30 feet which is in a stall. So it’s a classic base turn stall is just happening very fast.
Matt: I knew straight away I was in a lot of trouble, I unloaded the plane got the wing flying again, I ruled it with rudder, a bit [inaudible][52:45] quite a bit of a rudder because I was still in a stalled, near stalls position. I wasn’t slow because I was still doing 140 knots or so. But I just loaded and as soon as the wings were passed the vertical and starting to roll up then it was pull back stick well not pull back stick but right on the [inaudible][53:02] again to reduce the impact. I hit the water with the left wing tip, the right landing gear and the right wing tip on the tail.
Chris: Goodness. I’m watching it now, it’s amazing.
Matt: It was a pretty violent hit. It, I lost, I think [inaudible][53:19] about 145 knots to 115 knots in about 0.1 of a second so. It was a pretty violent hit in the cockpit even though it doesn’t look that way from the outside. I actually thought I’d lost the, I thought the prop was coming off, just with the violence of it I thought I lost the majority of the prop and I’m about, and also the plane tried to flip unto, flip over. So I started to flip it so it hit the water and bounced and then tried to flip. I thought I was probably going to stay in the water so I was putting all my attention in trying to not let it flip. Keep it level for as long as possible…
Matt: Until I settled into the water. While I was in the process of doing that keeping it level, it, I realized I was flying again about a foot off the water. Then I was heading towards the other shoreline over the Detroit River as well and I knew that there was a lot of people and buildings out that way so I took the opportunity to turn right and get as much high as I could before the engine stopped.
And then lo and behold it kept going and as it turned out the prop missed the water so I had a full serviceable engine and we just had to do some handling checks, get a few visual inspections from the helicopters and Nigel [inaudible][54:43] next to me and had a good look at me.
Chris: I don’t feel like I’ve been breathing for the last two minutes just watching this and listening to this. That is wild.
Matt: Different experience so we had full telemetry on the aircraft and video cameras and ace equipment on so basically the whole thing from the G stall to exiting the water took 0.6 seconds…
Matt: It was a pretty quick event but a lot of the card in that .6 of a second. There a medical thing called temporal distortion, this is when people talk about their lives flashing before your eyes. Because your brain speeds up when you’re in danger. The effect of your brain speeding up it appears that the world slows down so that’s when they talk about you know, things happen in slow motion. And you know, the bottom line is you know, with all those thoughts that were occurring as I would say, really quite a bit of thought but the majority of it was flying on instinct.
And that comes from a natural feel from the aircraft but mostly from training from years and years and years of training to react to incidents and emergencies and my body just kicked into instinct mode and recovered the aircraft for me and then I went back into thinking mode and how to get the aircraft safely on the ground. And fortunately I was able to land the aircraft safely back at the runway and the race was able to continue albeit without me because the aircraft was damaged.
Chris: Right, definitely. And geez your emotions rattled if nothing else.
Matt: Yeah, I was more just, emotionally I was just really pissed off with myself to tell you the truth. I wasn’t scared and shaking I was so upset with myself because I knew straight away as soon as I came out of the water, yeah I think it’s on video, I’m just sitting there and shaking my head. You know, basically going, you, you idiot…
Matt: You shouldn’t to be in the cockpit at the moment you should been at home in bed, I had a head cold, I had…
Matt: Chronic fatigue and jet lag. And I was even asked by the management in the morning am I alright to fly and I said yes. Everyone knew I was a world of hurt, I was also on medication because of the head cold. As it turned out the medication had written in German, do not operate machinery.
Chris: Oh, no way.
Matt: But basically as I said at the start it was a Swiss cheese model. There was so much adding up to that and
yeah unfortunately no one actually managed to join the dots before it was too late. But once, that was a wonderful thing, after we landed, we would look at everything that was lined up and we went there is no way I should have been flying that day.
Matt: So it’s one of those things I wasn’t scared or upset, I was flying the plane, the plane had been repaired in a week and I was flying less than a week later and I was happy to be in the plane but we did put a lot of benches in place to make sure that it didn’t happen again.
Chris: It’s situations like this, this is where we learn in aviation. I mean unfortunately the experience comes first and then the lesson right? It’s like you learn after the fact, it’s not something you learn before necessarily but it just goes to show that crazy things happen to fantastic pilots and people that have been…
Chris: That have a ton of experience and you’ve got it, you got to look at yourself and say what could I have done differently? How can I improve from this?
Matt: And that’s exactly right you know. I had, within a couple of hours I was back in the hotel room and I actually physically looked at myself in the mirror and I looked like death warmed up. And I had to have a conversation with myself and say there’s two ways this can go, you know I can bury my head in the sand and hide from it or I can learn from it and help other people from it and I can become a better pilot and a better mentor.
Matt: And it was so tempting just to run away and hide but I took the second option and that’s part of what I do now is I travel around in aviation circles and actually show that accident and talk about it and explain to people that yeah this is the difference between arrogance and confidence. Is that now I’m prepared to go and fly again, I’m confident to fly, you know, within a week I was confident to go and fly. But if I was arrogant I’d rather be blaming other people for the accident or I’d be just pretending it didn’t happen.
Matt: Or not prepared to talk about it whereas, now that’s what I decided to do. So we learn from it as a team, we learn from it as a business, yeah I learned from it as a pilot. My wife and I learned from it as a family. But the biggest thing I’m trying to do is tell other pilots learn from not just my experience about how no matter what, how good you think you are, or how you know what you’re doing things can go wrong. But also that when things do go wrong put your hand up and talk about it and help other people learn from it.
Chris: And I’ll tell you from first-hand experience that is very difficult to do because I personally ran into a situation where I was at an airfield in Washington and did a short film take off and essentially almost ran into trees. And it scared the heck out of me and a lot of it was just unexplainable so you know same plane I went through the replay of the build up to this and what my thought process was. It wasn’t that I was necessarily even doing something stupid but I turn that around and used it for a learning experience.
And there are people that say that learning experience and they actually get something from it and say wow you know I could potentially get myself in this the situation too, I should really take this to heart. And then there are those that say this guy was a complete idiot this is what not to do and they kind of miss the lesson you know what I mean?
Matt That’s right, there’s judgmental people out there and judgmental people aren’t prepared to learn. If a judgmental person essays that anyone who’s made a mistake is an idiot, they’re probably the ones that are the idiot you know everyone makes a mistake.
Matt: And it’s [inaudible][1:01:06] be for someone to learn from it and actually apply it to other people, I reckon that’s a definition of airmanship. Being able to admit an error because everyone makes them but not only admit their own error but then take that error and try and stop other people from making this same error…
Matt: And that’s, if everyone, imagine if every pilot did that, every time they made a mistake, they put their hands up and say geez I made a mistake. It’s embarrassing to actually say I did it but this is what I did and so hopefully people can learn from it and not do it themselves. Imagine how we would improve as a community of aviators. Unfortunately there’s a lot of people that make a mistake that push the aircraft in the hangar and hope that no one saw it.
Chris: Yep and kind of bury it. There’s a thing here in the US called NASA Report where it’s I don’t know if they have it there. But…
Chris: It’s this anonymity report as a pilot. I think you get one maybe it’s only one when you’re pilot or one a year, something like that. But anyway it’s a way for you to kind of get out of jail free card and report something that has gone wrong or something that you did and it’s a learning experience for everybody. It’s too bad we can’t have more this and, we definitely don’t want to hurt people you know in the process.
It’d be so interesting to learn from those who have lost their lives doing things like VFR and IMC and that’s kind of a general aviation accident or base the final accidents or things like that. And know what was in their head you know, it would be nice if we can improve flight safety that way. But we’re doing all we can with what we have I suppose.
Matt: Exactly and you know it’s, just what you told, there’s exactly what happens with cancer ads on TV. You have these people that smoke and you see these advertising on TV with someone that’s able to, they know they are going to die but they are able to put a message out to the broader community talking about what they will do differently if they had their time again they weren’t about to die.
Matt: We just don’t get that in aviation. Generally people will die in aviation data in a split second I we don’t get the opportunity to go you know what, I was an idiot I’ve been doing this for the last 10 years getting away with it and people telling me not to do it and I’ve told them you know keep to yourself and don’t give me advice I know what I’m doing. And all of a sudden they realize a split second before they die and they probably have this moment of clarity in their life where they go, Ah, this is what they were talking about. So that’s the thing were missing in aviation because those people don’t get the opportunity to talk to the community about what they’ve just learned before they meet their maker.
Chris: By the way, when I brought up this video I actually hadn’t it seen it before I started watching it while you’re talking about it so I apologize if I in any way made light of it because as soon as I watched it I realized it was a lot more serious than I thought it was. The scariest part was your wife, the look on your wife’s face. I’m assuming that’s who was on the video…
Matt: Yeah that’s…
Chris: Just to see her reaction man, that is heart wrenching.
Matt: Yeah, if you ever make your wife have a reaction I that, you’re probably going to hear about it.
Chris: Yeah, definitely. So let’s shift here a little bit and I’m really glad we got into that. I mean in hindsight that’s fantastic, it’s exactly what this show is all about is learning from experiences like that and becoming better pilots. So very awesome discussion there, let’s shift focus a little bit and let’s talk about maybe some of the more positive things that have happened in your career as a Red Bull Air Racer pilot. So tell us about some of the highlights in your career, there may be some good placings that you’ve had in the championships and things like that.
Matt: I guess on the good side it is a, you know, probably the most amazing thing to me is the people that I’ve met, the I guess the experiences that I’m having as a race pilot and then a big part of it is the influence and able to have something am very proud of actually is influence I’m able to have on aviation. I’m not saying I’m having a large influence but I’m having some influence to try and help people to get out there and have a go and hopefully do things in a safer way. So that’s the cool stuff about being involved in the race.
But yes specifically on races there’s a number of things that again jumped into my mind. The first race I ever had coming in fifth place was a great feeling to be able to achieve that. Having my first podium which was still in my rookie year when I had my first podium in the air race and expanding in the podium my wife and my dad and my friends it was in Portugal. They were all in front of the podium there and my wife passed my son up to me and I held him up on the podium it was a very special time for me.
Matt: And then air racing, racing in Australia was fantastic. It was when I came in 2nd in Australia.
Chris: Wow, right on.
Matt: Yeah, in the race but the local support was overwhelming, it was humbling once again to see that many Australians cheering me on and wishing me well was humbling actually humbling. They are the sorts of things I get to do and see you know going under bridges. You know this last year racing, racing in Ascot Racecourse, racing in speedways I mean in Dallas and Vegas speedways inside the grand stand section.
Matt: What else? You know racing above Formula 1 Tracking Spielberg, absolutely amazing experiences you wouldn’t write about, you wouldn’t dream about.
Matt: They asked me when did I want to become a Red Bull Air Race pilot. You go, I don’t know, it’s not something that you dream of. I don’t think anyone could have imagined that this would be a career before and it actually did occur. So yeah, I do consider myself, yeah well I talk to you earlier about being lucky, that I work pretty hard to be as lucky as I am. I wouldn’t say I am lucky but I am very fortunate…
Matt: That I’ve been in the right place at the right time but taken advantage of something that was out there and make the most of that opportunity.
Chris: Great and some of those moments really stood out to me, maybe some of the more emotional ones rights? So maybe it isn’t flying underneath a bridge are pulling those high G turns or whatever it is. But the most special moments are those you know, when you’re on the podium and your son gets handed up to you or when you’re in front of the Australian crowd and having such a great showing there. Just, I don’t know, it just seems like it’s coming full circle and it seems like that would all make everything makes sense if you know what I mean. I don’t know.
Matt: In the end, people that haven’t erased I guess, the world’s population minus 15, they would think that the flying must be the ultimate of what we’re doing. And just the flying is part of the process of what we’re doing. Yes the flying is fantastic but the flying is just flying and it’s the emotional reward that comes from the flying that is the ultimate reward. It’s, you measure life enjoyments through emotions and well flying gives certain emotions, while having people will respect you and love you and not because you’ve done something but just because you’re excited for it and you know there’s people that very proud of you.
That’s probably the biggest emotion to have the largest respect on any human being. It’s knowing that there’s a lot of people that are proud of you so. That is probably the ultimate reward of why we travel through life really and everyone wants someone special in their lives to be proud of them and I am fortunate enough to have a lot of people be proud of me when I get out there and do it. So the flying’s great but just knowing that the community’s behind me and my family is behind me and my teams behind me that’s the final straw that you’re doing it for.
Chris: So what are you doing these days with, you said you go out and you share your message about safety and different things. Tell us a little bit about, I don’t know if that’s necessarily work with just youth or whatever it is. But tell us about that work because that’s obviously something that comes with kind of I guess this same you could even call it. So tell us a little bit about that.
Matt: You know that came about through my sports psychologist actually you know as we’re talking about it you know what, exactly from that last topic. Why am I doing this? [Inaudible][1:10:36] flying school you know why am I doing it? And what we decided was I needed a bigger purpose in life, it wasn’t, if I based my self-importance upon how well I pull a race I’d have no ability because you’re only good as your last golf game sort of thing. So we decided that I needed a bigger purpose and that bigger purpose was to motivate people and help people through either challenging situations or help them avoid a challenging situation in the first place.
So that’s where we started sorts of the corporate speaking side of things and I talked to groups on a range of topics anywhere from school kids about how to get out there and not be scared of failure or being scared of ridicule. And how to be prepared to stand in the, walking in the rain are not be a part of the gallery standout in front of everyone and have a go and deal with it.
I’ve talked to adults about how to reset their lives and how to reestablish their dreams you know most adults have dreams when they leave school and they’re rapidly shot down and [inaudible][1:11:46] and they end up in the rut of life just fighting through life. So I talk to people about how to reestablish that passion for life.
I’ve talked to aviators about how to, how to avoid a raise in aviation by reducing arrogance and ego and increasing talking and discussions and planning. Then I’ve talked to high risk businesses such as the mining companies and even finance companies about how to keep focused on your daily job when you’re in a risky environment. Because quite often in risky environment people will downplay them, become complacent and then end up injuring themselves are losing a lot of money on the stock market for example. Because they become complacent and comfortable with being in a high-risk environment which is exactly the environment I operate in. The day I start thinking it’s just another day flying at 30 feet is the day I need to my headset.
Matt: Because that is complacency and that will get me killed. So they are the types of talks I give, they seem to be received quite well and I get a lot of personal satisfaction because if I can help one or two people in every talk to either go out there and she something that they’ve always been too scared to do or I can save someone’s life or stop them from making a massive mistake that could harm others it’s a rewarding thing for me to do. It’s not just about racing, so I’m using my fame as you previously mentioned to help people to improve their own lives.
Chris: Well I think you’ve definitely helped our listeners with that today and I thank you for that. Kind of wrapping up the show here we’ve talked about so much stuff and I’d love to talk to you for hours more about some of these topics because this has been so fascinating. But kind of wrapping it altogether and piggybacking off kind of your last topic there, what is your advice for young aviators, those that are you know the adults that kind of got their dreams trotted on that never actually became pallets but wanted to, those struggling with medical and financial issues in order to become a pilot, what is your inspiration for them?
Matt: The four things I tell, they’re generic but the four things I’ve told to people, everyone I’ve talked to is set a dream. Decide what you, where you want to go and it has to be, something that’s more than five years away, something that you’ve always thought was unachievable but you can do it. So that’s the dream that people end up getting charted out of them by just silly comments like, but don’t be silly, or grow up, or you can’t afford it, you’re not good enough all those little comments. They just erode when people just go you’re right and then the dreams just disappear.
Matt: Reestablish the dream…
Matt: And look at it every day. Look at it, get a picture on your wall and just look at it every day that the dream.
Chris: I like that, visualize it.
Matt: Then, exactly, then you’ve got to have goals because the dream is too far away to just launch out. So goals are the stepping stones to your dream so start writing goals on a much shorter time frame. What’s the goal for January? What’s the goal for February? What’s the goal for March? What’s the goal for this year? And they all head towards the dream, they don’t get yet to the dream but they take you on the way.
They are the stepping stones, you’ve got to jump on one to the next. After that you’ve got to make sure that you got the right team around you because once again your dream will never be realized if you’ve got a bunch of friends around and you go to the pub and they all go, you bloody idiot when are you going to give up on this stupid idea?
Matt: They’re not helping you, they will still be of friends but you need other people around you, people that my wife would say, you know what? Will never know unless you give it a go. So you go out there and you have people around you that encourage you that your dream isn’t stupid and your dream is achievable and then you have to have that surround you. And the last thing I tell people is you’ve got to be prepared to commit to planning and planning involves sacrifice.
You’ve got to decide what you’ve got to sacrifice you’ve got to plan what you’ve got to cut back on spending money here you’ve got the plan that you going to get a second job for that. Planning you got to take night school to improve your education, you’ve got the plan that you’ve got to find a new advisor for something. But you’ve got to continually plan and you’ve got to review the plan. And in that process of reviewing the plan you’ve got to make sure that the goals are the correct goals to be chasing and that your dreams are still valid of where you want to go. Because you might in fact find out that as you start to move the dream actually gets even bigger.
Chris: Dreams, goal, teams and planning and sacrifice kind of connected there.
Matt: That’s it.
Chris: The thing I noticed there is that all of them kind of go back to the dreams. You know it’s all about that dream.
Matt: Exactly. If you don’t have a dream to start with, you’re rudderless, you’re directionless.
Chris: Right and so in, I guess in that sense write your dream has to be pretty specific too, I will be excess X that I’m sort of thing.
Matt: Exactly, it has, it can’t be I want to be recognized for being able to drive a car that’s not really a good dream.
Matt: I want to be employed or I want to own my own mansion or whatever it is but it has to be quite specific.
Chris: Well this has turned out to be one of our better episodes ever and I really appreciate the time that you’ve spent with us today. Do you have any final words before we part here?
Matt: Just thanks for having me and I do travel around the world so this is obviously a worldwide broadcast that you do so congratulations. Congratulations to you for having the energy and dedication to gather people to talk about aviation. Congratulations to the listeners for making it this far in my interview if you’re still hearing this bit.
And as I say I do travel the world so no matter where you are in the world if you do get an opportunity to hunt me down at a Red Bull Air Race or any event I’m at, feel free to come up and have a chat to me. Ask me any questions and pretty approachable. And as I’ve said all through this broadcast I love helping people so don’t be shy, ask me anything you want and I’m just another person that happens to do some stuff that isn’t quite normal.
Chris: Awesome I love that. Now before the show you said you’re going to be in Las Vegas which my brother is going to be living there at that time so I don’t know, I think you and I are going to get a chance to meet in real life here and so let’s just plan on it. How about that?
Matt: That sounds fantastic. Just come on up, say good day and we can do a one and one interview show over the plane and get some photos.
Chris: Awesome! Sounds great, thanks for joining us might really appreciate it and we’ll catch up soon.
Matt: No problem Chris.
Chris: Take care, bye.
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For more information on Angle of Attack simulation training videos for FSX, X-Plane and more, go to www.flyaoamedia.com. If you are looking for a professional training services video services and other media, inquire at www.angleofattackpro.com. Now for the final release clearance back to Chris Palmer.
Chris: Alright aviators thank you for joining us on this episode of AviatorCast. It has been an absolute pleasure to have you here and a huge, huge thanks goes out to Matt Hall for joining us on this episode. I know that me personally, I was inspired by his story and so impressed with his candor to talk about things like his incident on the water and his inspirational message for his four step process, right? So dreams, goals, team, planning and sacrifice, that planning sacrifice is the last one there.
Really inspirational you know, we talk to so many great people on this show and it really does motivate me I hope is doing the same for you. And I really appreciate Matt joining us on the show. You can check out his work at Matt Hall racing also if he does go on YouTube and search Matt Hall a lot of great stuff is going to come up. I’ll also put some links there on aviatorcast.com for you guys check out. Again thank you for joining us on this episode of AviatorCast, I really hope that you guys join us next week.
And also thanks goes out to the Angle of Attack crew for all their hard work to make this episode possible, these guys are fantastic I couldn’t do without them. And it allows us to have fun every week here. Most of all thank you, you guys are rock stars I’m so excited to have you here on this show every week. I hope you’re getting something great out of it and we will talk soon. Until next time, throttle on!
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