My Place: Matt Henderson

Former Kyneton Aero Club president Matt Henderson talks to Matt Crossman about his love of flying – and the Macedon Ranges

How did you get involved with the club?

I joined the Kyneton Aero Club in 2008 when I first moved into the region and was able to source a hangar at Kyneton airfield. I joined the committee shortly after joining the club and served in various positions from 2008 to 2015, recently standing down as president after four years.


How did you get into flying?

My father was in the air force and I was fortunate enough to grow up on a base and spent most of my early years in and around aircraft … I’ve had a passion for aviation ever since.


What do you most love about it?

The flying aspect is many things – challenging, rewarding, relaxing. It’s the ultimate freedom but also focuses the mind. Given the potential consequences, it requires 100 per cent concentration and commitment. The aircraft themselves have stories to tell. My main interest is in historic and vintage aircraft, particularly ex-military.


Do you travel by plane as a passenger very often? How is that experience for you?

I travel fairly regularly as an airline passenger … I always get a window seat and spend most of the flight gazing out the window as I do when I’m flying myself.


You own some planes yourself … what are their stories?

We are fortunate enough to be the current custodians of two historic ex-military aircraft. Our first aircraft, a CT4 Airtrainer, served with the Royal Australian Air Force between 1975 and 1993. Our second aircraft is a Cessna O-1G Birddog, which was built in 1952 as an L-19 liaison and observation aircraft and served initially with the US Army Air Corps in Vietnam from 1966 to 1971, when it was transferred to the South Vietnamese Army. Following the end of the Vietnam War, it was effectively discarded on the side of an airfield and remained there until 1989 when it was recovered by well-known warbird restorer Col Pay. A friend of ours purchased the aircraft and spent 17 years restoring it. We were fortunate enough to purchase it earlier this year.


What’s your day job?

I work in the IT industry for a global technology manufacturer in after-sales account management … it’s somewhat removed from aviation but technology is also an area of interest since school days.


How does Kyneton airfield compare to others?

I’m likely to have a biased view here, but I also spend a lot of time at many other regional airfields around the country. I think the Kyneton airfield is a fantastic asset for both Kyneton and the Macedon Ranges.


Having spent a lot of time in the air, what are your favourite parts of the Macedon Ranges?

The diversity of scenery in the region is one of the great aspects, from the pasture lands to the north, to the forests, ranges and reservoirs to the south. The most special flight we’ve done recently is the dawn formation flight above Mount Macedon on Anzac Day.