After 32 years, it’s time to tell our side of the story…

1989 – a year none of us will ever forget. To feel abandoned and unsupported by your country is not something I would wish upon anyone. It was a time of immense hardship. Marriages broke down, friendships soured, careers were halted or destroyed, and some even took their own lives. Then there were those who were more fortunate, the ones who spread their wings and never looked back. This is my chance to tell the other side of this story. The one seldom reported in mainstream media – a young family’s lived experience of the 1989-90 Airline Dispute.

A Young Family and The Australian Pilots’ Dispute

The event that changed the course of our lives, and this country… Into the Wind follows the story of a young family navigating one of Australia’s harshest industrial disputes. Vowing to fight for their basic rights, pilots and their families banded together. They opposed the crushing force of two of the most powerful businessmen in the country combined with the might of the Government and Council of Trade Unions. This is their side of the story, the human side – that of the pilots and their families and the hardships they suffered throughout this traumatic time.

Click below to read an excerpt of Into the Wind as featured in the Australian Federation of Air Pilots’ (AFAP) Air Pilot 2021 Issue 2.

A segment by ABC Radio National

Paul Edgley and his wife, Sharon, briefly appeared on Bill Bunbury’s ABC Radio National show, Hindsight, to discuss the 1989 Pilots’ Dispute. The episode, An Unhealed Wound (17 June 2001), marked one of the first times the other side of the story was told, sparking a newfound courage in the pilots and their families to tell their story. New release, Into the Wind, is one family’s experience showing the financial and personal struggles they had to manage.

Listen below and click here to visit the Hindsight page on the ABC Radio National website.

An Unhealed Wound – Part 1
An Unhealed Wound – Part 2

About the Author

After gaining his Commercial Pilot Licence in 1978, Paul Edgley’s first job in General Aviation (the Light Aircraft industry) was piloting fish spotting aircraft in the Tuna industry based in Port Lincoln, South Australia. After upgrading his licence with an Instrument Rating and Senior Commercial theory subjects, he moved to Darwin in 1980 and flew light twins in charter and commuter operations throughout the Northern Territory.

In 1982 he was accepted into Ansett Airlines of Australia and he and his partner, Sharon, moved to Adelaide. Here he commenced as a First Officer (Co-pilot) on the F27 Fokker Friendship with the Ansett subsidiary, Airlines of South Australia. After four years, the growing family moved to Perth where he flew the F28 Fokker Fellowship jet. In 1988 the family moved to Brisbane (where they intended to finally settle), picking up a slot on the Boeing 737.

1989 saw the upheaval of the Airline Dispute, which was the motivation for writing this book, and highlighted the unique financial and family struggles pilots’ families had to manage.

In May of 1990 the family moved overseas as this was one of the few options open to the ‘89er pilots who wished to continue in their chosen profession.

Paul Edgley is now retired and lives with his wife, Sharon, in Brisbane. Their four adult children, and three grandchildren, also live close by in Brisbane.         

What people are saying

“A different perspective on one of the most bitter and damaging disputes in Australia’s industrial history. A well written and researched book.”

– Melanie S.

“Paul Edgley has done such a great job in his overall writing of this book – he has cleverly based it on the authenticity of his research, and then masterfully tells the story of the effect on his profession and his family.”

– Bryan M.

“An important story that I am glad was told. A time in our industrial history that we need to be aware of, reflect on, and never repeat.”

– Alex P.