RACQ Capricorn Helicopter Rescue Service pilot David Patrick in the Rockhampton hangar.
RACQ Capricorn Helicopter Rescue Service pilot David Patrick in the Rockhampton hangar. Allan Reinikka

A good man to have in an emergency

IMAGINE waking up for work - a 48-hour shift that could see you helping save someone from a heart attack at a mine camp, a car accident on the Bruce Hwy or from dying, lost, in the Central Queensland bushland.

It might be one of the toughest and most specialised jobs around, but helicopter pilot David Patrick wouldn't do anything else for quids.

David has been flying choppers for 20 years.

From charter flights transporting workers to and from offshore oil and gas rigs to dropping water bombs during bushfires and working for the New Zealand emergency services, David has worked in almost every realm of the industry.

For the past 18 months he has been working for the RACQ Helicopter Rescue Service in Central Queensland.

"It's a good job; you have a pretty steady work rate, and I'm working with a really good crew," he said.

"I think the best thing about being a rescue helicopter pilot in Central Queensland is the variety of jobs - every day is a challenge.

"Working for the rescue service is great, because everyone has a specialised role - the paramedics get their job done, and our job is just to get patients from the pick-up to delivery as quickly and smoothly as possible."

David said while only a small percentage of jobs he had been on in the region were search and rescues, recent technological improvements had made it quite easy.

"Most times when you head out on a search and rescue, on a boat, or hikers, they often take a satellite beacon with them these days," he said.

"So, these beacons make it easy for us; all you do is find the signal and you can fly right to where they are."

After so many years working in emergency situations, David said he didn't think he would ever return to working charter flights.

"I've done the occasional job for a mate, but flying charters just isn't the same - the emergency work is too good," he said.



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