Father and Daughter Brave Outback In 4 Week Adventure
By Chris Batcheller
Oshkosh AirVenture is full of amazing stories. I had the
pleasure of interviewing Monika Petrillo, the writer, producer and
star of 'Flyabout', an amazing cross between a documentary and a
diary as she discovers herself in the Australian Outback.
Monika didn't even know you could be a pilot until she met a
flight instructor at a random party in Los Angles. Little did she
know, she was embarking on an epic adventure.
Soon after, she passed her check ride and became a newly minted
private pilot. Sharing the news with her dad in Germany, she was
shocked when he told her that he wanted to be a pilot! He was soon
on a flight to the states. Burning up vacation from work and
sleeping on the floor of Monika's apartment, he also earned his
That's where this amazing adventure begins. The pair decide to
do something truly amazing, and they book a 4 week flying safari in
Australia. As newbie pilots they circumnavigate the continent of
Australia, and the movie Flyabout is born.
The movie didn't happen overnight. Monika told me "it took 7
years to edit and produce the movie". It seems her determination
didn't stay in the outback. Starting a family ate into production
time, but she kept at it. On her website she comments about the
anchient Media 100 system that the movie was edited on. She said
that she 'looks forward to giving the ancient editing system the
burial that it richly deserves'.
Eventually the film premiered at the SXSW Film Festival on March
9, 2006 in Austin, TX. Monika didn't really intend to show the film
at aviation events, but at the encouragement of her flying friends,
'Flyabout' made it's aviation premier at Oshkosh in 2008. Two years
later, sales of the DVD are still strong with only a few copies
left as I purchased my copy for Monika to autograph.
Flying a single engine Cessna around Australia is an epic
adventure unto itself worthy of a film. The breathtaking scenes
that only Australia can offer are littered throughout the film and
the adventure of landing in the outback will have you arm chair
flying the little Cessna onto the narrow dirt strip in a harrowing
The movie is much more than just buzzing around the Australian
outback. Monika brings a certain personal 'air' to the movie. You
will live the personal journey that she makes, laughing and
struggling as this 140 hour private pilot is challenged by the
airplane, weather, and the reality of sharing the cockpit with her
'Flyabout' can be purchased from several aviation pilot stores
and from Amazon.com. The CD does not have a 'region' code and can
be played worldwide.
'Flyabout' is a movie that you will treasure in your aviation
library. And if you're into hunting for treasure, there may be a
perfectly good Media 100 video editing machine waiting to be dug