VIDEO: What does a RFDS pilot of 20 years get in a send off?
A PILOT who has committed the past 20 years of his flying career to transporting the sick has been sent off in an unusual manner.
Captain Neville Wilson and his plane were 'hosed' by a water arch by the Rockhampton Airport firefighters yesterday.
Neville started flying in November 1973 while still working as a plumber to support his wife and three children.
In 1979 he achieved his commercial pilots license in Mackay and in 1980 he began flying with Mission Aviation Fellowship in Arnhem Land for nine years.
He was transferred to Ballarat as an instructor for a year before transferring to Alice Springs for five years.
He took to the skies for the last time yesterday after clocking more than 20,000 flying hours.
Here is the video:
Neville returned to Queensland to work in Bundaberg for the Queensland Aerial Ambulance for six months.
Neville joined the RFDS in Charleville in July 1995 and transferred to the Rockhampton base two years later. In May 1996 he attained his Air Transport Pilot licence.
The highlight of his career with RFDS was the birth of a premature baby in mid-air during one of his MED 1 flights. His most challenging flight was a burns patient on life support into Brisbane in extremely poor weather.
He compared it to flying in a washing machine.
Neville considers his job with RFDS as the most privileged flying position around and his motto has always been, "We make a difference".
He said his appointment with the RFDS in Charleville had been a good introduction to the work of the RFDS, especially to the needs of people who required medical care in remote areas.
"When I first moved to Rockhampton we operated one Super King Air and also accessed two piston engine aircraft," he said.
"Over the years the piston engine aircraft were phased out and we now operate two new Beechcraft Super King Airs equipped with state-of-the-art flight management and satellite navigation systems."
These pressurised turbo prop aircraft are capable of speeds over 500km an hour and are able to keep patients at a sea level cabin pressure while flying at 15,000 feet altitude.
"Our flight time to Brisbane can be as low as 63 minutes. Very important in emergencies," Neville said.
Neville had the privilege of being one of the ferry pilots who took delivery of these new aircraft in 2004 in the USA and flew them back to Australia.
Yvette Luckock - Thank you Captain Neville for the many lives you have saved and the families you have cared for in your career.
Kirk Koschel - somebody give that man an OAM pronto!!!
Wesley Wilson - Well done Dad, you've had one Excellent Adventure over your flying career, ive shared your joy in it. You've been able to help a lot of people doing something you love. You'll have to resort to low level flying in the 350Z from now on
Graham Willett - Nev your a national treasure .Enjoy your years ahead and I hope they are many .
Ric Buddy Scott - Congratulations Neville my goal is to be where you are in my future I'm working at it now I hope someday I'm as successful as you are, congratulations sir
Kathy Stevens- It's lovely to see the long term pilots being appreciated for their service.
John Morris - This is 20 years of pure dedication to his job, that equals 20years of having to come to terms to pushing the boundaries if required, each flight different. That is equal to a very high recognition. From Me "Thank you for being a very special Australia."