A toast to 2015.

This year, I thought that I should also reflect on my personal experiences, rather than just capture my favourite photos of the year.

I did a collage of the cool aircraft movements of last year which is available here: https://flic.kr/p/qKnthu. If you didn’t realise, this was also my Facebook cover photo for the whole year.

As well as take some awesome aircraft movements of 2015, I experienced flight, learnt how to lead by example, and explored how my interactions with others are deep, meaningful and worthwhile — all of which built new relationships, and strengthened existing ones.

As I enter my last year of secondary schooling, it feels good to reflect upon what I have achieved this year. The support from YOU — my family, my friends, the people around me, my readers, my followers, cannot go unacknowledged! Thanks a million!

Now, for the writer within me.

A quote from an old TV show has stuck with me ever since I saw it for the first time. That is, don’t let life get in the way of living.

And it could not be more relevant than in 2015.

This year, was a year of highs and lows. We continue to be shown that, through events like the war on global terrorism, a refugee crisis of enormous proportions, and both the Tunisian and Paris Attacks, we are brought closer as a community, through compassion, sorrow and hope.

Image: PerthNow

We found out that roadblocks on free speech can never be sustained through the Charlie Hebdo shootings and the release of Al Jazeera journalist, Peter Greste. We found out that current issues like the infamous US gun laws could be exacerbated through the innocent, fatal shooting of two news crew.

Or the opposite, with an issue like same-sex marriage, made less of an ‘issue’ through both the US Supreme Court’s decision and the Irish referendum.

Image: Sydney Morning Herald

But, we also protected our future through a landmark climate change agreement in Paris, ended the Ebola outbreak, and were joyed at the coming of another royal. Us Australians also ousted yet another Prime Minister.

We remembered our ANZAC veterans who fought more than a century ago, became captivated through a seventh Star Wars movie hitting our screens and were proud to witness the first female jockey to ever win the Melbourne Cup.

Image: Screenrant

From an aviation perspective, this year has also had its moments of success and devastation — both of which is embedded in my latest opinion-feature, available here if you haven’t read it already — http://bit.ly/1Q5p3hk

And, it was a safer year too.

According to the Aviation Safety Network, 2015 had 16 fatal airliner incidents, totalling a record low of 560 deaths, compared with 21 incidents of the same nature and 990 deaths this time last year.

To put that into perspective, this year we had approximately 3.5 billion travellers.

Our paramount dedication to safety showed when Denpasar Airport was closed to air traffic after the eruptions of Mt Raung and Mt Rinjani, which sent many travellers’ plans into disarray.

Image: Sydney Morning Herald

New aircraft like the Airbus A350, which entered revenue service in January this year shows just how far we have come in the passenger experience and safety of a growing number of travellers.

We live in a world, that because of the media’s high-profiling of events like MH370 and MH17 in 2014, and 4U9525 and 7K9268 this year, travellers are “scared” off air travel.

People often ask me whether I too am “scared” off by any of these events in my quest to hopefully become a commercial pilot.

Never.

In my eyes, however, such recent events teach us forgotten, and ignored issues in safety, especially in the modern era — because they are simply unheard of, and where security is second nature, or in the case of 4U9525, the lack of mental health scrutiny amongst flight crew. As humans, we are continually learning.

I’m sure 2016 will be a blast! All the best in the New Year.

Your avgeek friend, Luke.