Meet Agile’s Chief Pilot, Stephen Byrnes

A flight-enthusiast from a young age, our Chief Pilot, Stephen Byrnes, has been flying for more than 20 years.


Bruce Munro’s Field of Light art installation at Uluru extended to March 2018

The iconic view of Uluru at nightfall has never been more spectacular, thanks to artist Bruce Munro’s stunning installation, Field of Light.

Meet Agile’s Chief Pilot, Stephen Byrnes

A flight-enthusiast from a young age, our Chief Pilot, Stephen Byrnes, has been flying for more than 20 years.

Meet Agile’s Corporate Pilot, Stuart Criddle

Flying runs in the Criddle family. Growing up watching his father perform at airshows, Stuart knew one day he’d follow the same flight path.

“I became interested in flying when I was a young teen,” Stephen explains over the phone from his Loftus home in Sydney.  And he’s been flying ever since. He’s just spent the past week flying executives to and from farms in regional Australia, and we’ve managed to find a spare hour on a Friday morning to chat.


“I was fortunate enough that my parents supported my dreams and helped me with flight tuition during high school,” he says. “It meant that it only took me six months to earn my commercial licence in 1995 when I finished school, as I’d already logged enough flight hours.”


Although it takes 150 hours of flying experience to earn a commercial pilot’s licence, Stephen has since amassed more than 6,000 hours in the air across a variety of aircraft. He spent four years flying sea planes, mastering the art of landing on water.

“I was flying privately for a client who had a holiday home on the South Coast of NSW,” he says. As he recalls, the five-hour drive one-way took just an hour by plane, so it was much more convenient to fly.

In 2003, he started flying the Pilatus PC-12 NG and hasn’t looked back. “It’s such a versatile machine,” he says. “Which means the flying we do is quite interesting. There’s a great mix of both short and long trips, as well as flying into private air strips. It keeps you on your toes.”


The ability to take-off and land on a range of surfaces, including shorter runways, means the Pilatus PC-12 NG has the capability to reach remote locations that other planes can’t access. “It means getting passengers closer to their final destination – faster,” Stephen adds.


It’s the variety of the job that he really loves. “I’ve been all over. Last week I was in Darwin; the week before I flew a family from Newcastle to Cairns,” he says. “It’s not just flying from one large airport to another. I’ve seen some stunning views of Australia from the cockpit.”


Traveling over parts of the country that many don’t, Stephen flies executives to a variety of regional locations around Australia. “Sometimes it’s more cost effective (and certainly more time efficient) to take a board member to a private airstrip just down the road from their final destination,” he says.


“On a commercial flight, there is so much wasted time, dealing with lengthy queues at security, waiting time at the gate prior to boarding, flight delays, sometimes you need to arrive at the airport over an hour before the scheduled departure time,” he explains. “But when they fly private, they tell us when they want to leave; they arrive, and we’re off.”


“So where to next?” I ask. “Bed!” he laughs, and with that, our hour is up.

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