GALLERY: Ruling of no annual review has our Cam flying high
THERE are not too many bad days in the office for helicopter pilot Cameron Parker.
In what he describes as "just a good day out", Cameron spends his time getting a bird's eye view of Central Queensland, running a commercial aerial mustering business.
In the 18 years Cameron has been running Parker Helicopters, his clients have become friends and a hard day's work in the sky is always followed by a cuppa and chat.
Cameron spoke to The Morning Bulletin after the Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA) announced they would not be introducing an annual flight review requirement.
Instead reviews, requiring flight with instructors, will stay at the existing two years.
Despite a reputation of danger, Cameron said aerial mustering was a "very safe" and well-regulated industry.
"If you're doing it all the time, it's just second nature," he said. "We do it most days and the current bi-annual safety training is adequate."
He said the rarity of bad accidents in the industry, despite the hundreds of pilots mustering across Australia daily, proved the current regulation level was working well.
One of the most challenging, and potentially dangerous aspects of the job comes when pilots are forced to fly low to the ground to get unco-operative cattle moving.
But Cameron said it wasn't a problem he experienced too often, after
having worked with many of the same producers for years.
Cameron said powerlines were a growing danger, even for experienced pilots, with mining developments rapidly changing the landscape. He said communication before developments proceeded could avoid this issue.
During Cameron's 18 years mustering, he's watched the mining boom dramatically change the industry as young men left the land to chase big bucks.
"Helicopters have replaced people on horseback," Cameron said.
"Even to go and find four men capable of mustering is not easy."