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Crooked Compass Founder Flies Light Plane into Deserted Sydney Airport

November 19, 2020 Airport No Comments

In an ultimate bucketlist moment, Lisa Pagotto, founder of adventure tour company Crooked Compass, yesterday flew a Piper Warrior light aircraft into a deserted Sydney Airport in a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity presented by COVID travel restrictions.Traditionally, Sydney airport has 900 landing time slots per day. With limited flights due to border closures, only 90 time slots per day are currently being used, making way for this bucketlist experience for light aircraft pilots.

“I said to my instructor a few weeks ago, do you think it would it be possible to fly into Sydney whilst there are no planes? His eyes lit up and he said, I don’t see why not? Even as a pilot instructor, he’s never flown into Sydney airport, so it’s a huge bucketlist experience for both of us. Once borders reopen and planes are airborne once again, this opportunity may not be available again in our lifetime,” said Lisa Pagotto.

Sydney Airport firefighters came to meet the plane, filming the Piper Warrior flying onto the huge runway and landing in front of the temporary Qantas ‘graveyard’, where approximately 30 planes are currently grounded. The light aircraft juxtaposed with the Qantas jets highlights the crippling effect of COVID on the travel industry, along with the silver lining opportunities that have emerged.

A lifetime dedicated to travel comes hand in hand with an obsession with flying for Lisa. With a break from the usual commitments of running a travel company as a result of COVID, Lisa embraced the downtime to obtain her own pilot’s license.


An extension of her love for aviation, Lisa launched sister company Crooked Compass by Air in September, offering the sophisticated traveller the opportunity to explore Australia’s most remote and untrodden reaches by private aircraft or helicopter.

Having previously only sold international tour itineraries, this year Lisa also reinvented the Crooked Compass business model, launching new product collections including Australia, Indigenous travel experiences and New Zealand.

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