Community and family have kept Max Langshaw firmly grounded, even though much of his life has been spent in the clouds.
He talks to Esther Lauaki.
What’s your connection with Sunbury?
I moved to Sunbury in 1979 from Wagga when the airline I worked for moved its operating base to Melbourne.
I chose Sunbury to live as it was close to Melbourne Airport and it had a similar living environment to country New South Wales.
I preferred relatively small town communities because of the sense of a wider family, where interest groups tend to support each other and people we meet are considered neighbours.
How long were you a pilot?
I started regional airline flying in 1974 with routes initially covering New South Wales and Victoria.
Prior to that I worked as a flying instructor in Sydney for five years. I retired from flying in 2006.
How did you come to be a pilot?
In 1965, I returned to Sydney after several years in the UK and Europe, I worked as a planning engineer in the motor industry and learnt to fly on weekends, until I obtained a commercial licence and instructor rating in 1969.
I then worked two jobs, motor industry during the week and aviation on weekends, until I secured a full-time flying position.
My flying goals were achieved with the help of a Commonwealth scholarship.
You’ve been to the Commonwealth Games … what was that like?
In 1957, I started cycle racing.
After turning senior, I represented NSW at various Australian championships, culminating in being selected to compete at the 1962 British and Commonwealth Games in Perth.
There I was fortunate in winning the gold medal for the 4000-metre pursuit event.
Representing your country in any endeavour is exciting for a young person, and a great lesson in life to be rewarded for the countless hours of training and sacrifice.
Do you still compete?
I have continued to ride for fitness, although I have had a break over the last few months, but looking forward to the warmer weather when I can resume daily rides of about 50 kilometres.
For a time I raced with the Northern Vets, however administrative workloads in my job as chief pilot prevented me from training to an acceptable standard.
What do you do in your spare time?
Transition to retirement has not been a problem.
For 30 years I have had involvement with St Mary’s Anglican Church, serving on parish council, so spare time is taken up working for the community store, helping out with grounds and building maintenance, and assisting with funerals and weddings.
I have a great wife, two daughters and three grand-daughters, so six women make sure I’m fully occupied whenever I look like relaxing!
I’m also looking forward to resuming cycling with some very good friends.
What’s the best thing about life in Sunbury?
My favourite thing about Sunbury is that it has many groups dedicated to the wellbeing of the community, whether it be organisations, such as Careworks or the service clubs, or sporting groups and churches, which quietly support people in need.
What would you change if you could?
What I would change in Sunbury is the random development that exists today.
Before any more housing development with subsequent population growth takes place, serious consideration should be given to the inadequate infrastructure that exists today.
Sunbury needs to improve road access in and out of the town, CBD parking is inadequate, the level crossing is a major bugbear and another railway crossing is needed.
Compared to Melton our town planning is second rate.