ROSS Costanzo is a master of many trades.
The Port Macquarie resident has maintained an ongoing interest in aviation his whole life.
“My older brother Frank learned to fly when he was 17,” Ross says.
“At the time I didn’t really have the money to pursue it, so I did my apprenticeship.”
Ross gained his qualification as a motor mechanic and started to look for adventures further afield.
“I grew up in Manly Vale, in the northern part of Sydney,” he says.
“When I was 21, I headed south to the snowfields and worked in Jindabyne.”
Ross worked at a number of ski fields throughout the 1980s.
In addition to Jindabyne, he was kept busy at Victoria’s Mt Hotham and spent a season in Canada in 1986.
His skills as a motor mechanic ensured he was occupied in all seasons.
“During the ski season I worked on the slopes,” Ross says.
“In the summer I worked with machinery, building ski lifts.”
Throughout the latter part of the decade, Ross was involved in a landmark piece of Australian engineering.
“I worked on the Skitube for quite a while, from 1984,” he says.
The alpine railway, which links stations in the Perisher Valley, was where he struck up a friendship that led him back to his first love.
“I became mates with Christopher Randall,” Ross says.
“He had a plane, and I became involved in the flying scene down there.
“The frustrating bit was I helped out a fair bit, but I didn’t have a licence.”
Fast forward to 1997, and Ross was living and working near Wollongong.
“I was living in a pub at the time, because the site was nearby,” he says.
“I had a bit of cash, and a didn’t want to spend all my time drinking, so I got my licence to fly ultralight trikes.”
Once the ball began rolling, Ross’ aeronautical aspirations grew exponentially.
“Not long after getting my licence, I converted to an ultralight licence through Dave Rolfe down at The Oaks.
“Then I decided it was time to do my general aviation licence.”
Ross secured his private pilot’s licence in 2000, and purchased a Cessna 172 aircraft.
Shortly after, he moved back to the alpine region of NSW.
In 2004, he made the significant move from Jindabyne to the Mid-North Coast.
His move to Nambucca coincided with a life-changing romantic meeting.
Ross met Canadian Yvette – luckily by that stage in their lives, both were searching for sunshine.
“She hated the cold by then, and so did I,” Ross says.
“At the time her father was living in Western Australia, so we chucked our bags in the Cessna and flew over to Perth.”
The six day flight led to a two year stint in the west.
The pull of the sunny eastern seaboard ultimately proved irresistible for the couple.
They relocated to Nambucca in 2007, and then to Port Macquarie shortly afterwards.
“My other half wanted to be nearer to the shops, so we came down here,” Ross laughs.
In the years since he has maintained his passion for aviation at Kempsey Airport.
He is the chief flying instructor at Mid Coast Flying.
“It’s really good to be able to share the experience of flying with other people,” Ross says.
“I’ve gotten to the point where I’ve flown trikes, ultralights and general aviation craft.
“It’s such a blast to be able to pass on that knowledge and experience.
“I’ve really lived my dream, and now I get to share that with people who like flying for pure enjoyment.”