Rocky man clocks up flying hours helping patients in need
IT'S every little boy's (and some girl's) dream - to be a firefighter, policeman or pilot.
At the age of 35, Rockhampton man Dr John Lowrey achieved his childhood dream - to fly.
"I always had a hankering to be a pilot, I was born in World War II and I saw a lot of planes fly over and always thought it would be great,” he said.
"The opportunity never arose until I set up my own private practice in Rockhampton.”
Dr Lowrey moved to Rockhampton in 1974 and worked as a specialist physician and visiting medical officer with the base hospital. He later retired in 2012.
He got his pilot license in 1977 and years later, he decided to use it for the better good and volunteer with not for profit charity, Angel Flight.
"I heard through the grapevine they were looking for pilots and I thought it would be something worthwhile,” he said.
It was a way to channel his passion.
"It's a bit of fun, getting out there and flying,” Dr Lowrey said.
"You're up there against the sky, the scenery is fantastic and you are in charge of a fantastic piece of equipment.”
Angel Flight provides free flights to financially and medically struggling country people who need to attend medical appointments in city centres.
"If the Angel Flight service didn't exist for the people in country area, they wouldn't get to their appointments,” Dr Lowrey said.
"Then they would be at risk of potentially dying from whatever condition they have.”
Dr Lowrey did his first medical patient flight in 1999 and then with Angel Flight from 2003.
Over the years he has done 27 flights.
"The last one I did was from Rocky to Longreach in early December,” Dr Lowrey said.
As a not for profit charity, Dr Lowrey's work with Angel Flight is voluntary.
To transport patients he also uses his own plane, a Mooney Acclaim-S.
It is the fourth plane he has owned in his 40 years of flying.
"I always say my first one was a Holden ute and this one is a Porshe,” Dr Lowrey said.
And when he isn't busy donating his time to transporting patients, Dr Lowrey loves to fly around Central Queensland.
"If I have some visitors I take off from the Rockhampton airport, go over the Berserker Ranges, circle around Keppel Islands, over Yeppoon and Rosslyn Bay, Mount Wheeler and of course the Fitzroy,” he said.
”Another great view is the Blackdown Tablelands.
"You see places in another way you can't on the ground, a lot of the places there aren't roads.”