Angel Flight Pilot

Welcome to my Angel Flight web page.

I have been flying aeroplanes for well over twenty years now, mostly just for my own pleasure and indulgence. That pleasure, though, was not necessarily always mine - quite often it would be the sadistic flight instructor's in the right hand seat.

Then, in the middle of 2003, I came across the Angel Flight Australia organisation which is described thus:

Angel Flight Australia co-ordinates non emergency flights for financially and medically needy people. All flights are free and may involve patients or compassionate carers travelling to or from medical facilities anywhere in Australia.

Angel Flight pilots do not carry aeromedical staff or medical equipment so do not act as an alternative to the Royal Flying Doctor Service or Air Ambulance in that capacity.

Whilst those living close to major hospitals and specialist medical help might find a short journey by road extremely uncomfortable and sometimes unbearable, patients living long distances from such help often have to endure hours of road travel where every bump and turn in the road adds to their discomfort.

With approximately 30% of Australians living in rural areas, there is a potential threat to the health and wellbeing of a significant number of people purely due to their geographical location.

"Health Professionals" i.e. medical practitioners, nurses, social workers are the people from whom we receive "flight requests".

I thought that by joining Angel Flight I could maybe add an hour or two to my log book every year and have a little bit more fun while at the same time helping someone. Having checked that I met the experience and insurance requirements, I registered as a pilot.

Little did I realise at the time how humbling, satisfying and enjoyable this activity would turn out to be and how many flights I would do.

I have flown people ranging in age from 2 months to 69 years and criss-crossed the southern part of the state of Queensland and the nothern parts of New South Wales. Some missions have been long and very taxing, but none have been tiring - they have all been uplifting.

Participating in Angel Flight has made me realise how fortunate I am with my family, health and circumstances. My passengers have been universally grateful and we usually have lots of laughs and long chats.

I also enjoy the camaraderie with other Angel Flight pilots and the staff at "Head Office" that dish out the missions.

I use my Archerfield based Beechcraft 36 Bonanza VH-FWL to fly missions for Angel Flight. The management team at my work, Jensware Pty Ltd, are very understanding, letting me fly missions during the week, when I really should be working.

Mission History

So far I have flown, or am due to fly, the following missions for Angel Flight:
Arrivals and departures - 2015 Distance  
Flight Origin Destination Scheduled Time (HR) Naut miles km Stat miles Status
AF10697 TOOWOOMBA ST GEORGE May 2015 3:48 473 876 544 LANDED
AF10697 ST GEORGE TOOWOOMBA Apr 2015 3:48 473 876 544 LANDED
AF10605 TOOWOOMBA ST GEORGE Mar 2015 3:48 473 876 544 LANDED
AF10469 HERVEY BAY ARCHERFIELD Jan 2015 2:12 271 502 312 LANDED
Missions completed in 2015: 4  13:36 hr  1,690 nm  3,130 km  1,944 sm
Arrivals and departures - 2014 Distance  
Flight Origin Destination Scheduled Time (HR) Naut miles km Stat miles Status
AF10260 ARCHERFIELD TARA Nov 2014 2:12 275 509 317 LANDED
AF10175 WARWICK ARCHERFIELD Oct 2014 1:18 133 246 153 LANDED
AF10123 GRAFTON ARCHERFIELD Sep 2014 2:12 263 487 303 LANDED
AF10083 COFFS HARBOUR ARCHERFIELD Sep 2014 2:36 331 613 381 LANDED
AF9761 ARCHERFIELD STANTHORPE May 2014 1:30 166 307 191 LANDED
AF9729 TOOWOOMBA TAMBO Apr 2014 5:54 799 1,480 920 LANDED
AF9684 ST GEORGE ARCHERFIELD Mar 2014 3:30 472 874 543 LANDED
AF9558 ARCHERFIELD TARA Feb 2014 2:12 275 509 317 LANDED
Missions completed in 2014: 8  21:24 hr  2,714 nm  5,025 km  3,125 sm
Missions completed in 2013: 10  28:54 hr  3,717 nm  6,885 km  4,279 sm
Missions completed in 2012: 9  39:36 hr  5,302 nm  9,819 km  6,102 sm
Missions completed in 2011: 20  64:00 hr  8,316 nm  15,400 km  9,571 sm
Missions completed in 2010: 20  72:00 hr  9,776 nm  18,103 km  11,252 sm
Missions completed in 2009: 20  66:12 hr  8,547 nm  15,827 km  9,837 sm
Missions completed in 2008: 27  92:48 hr  12,164 nm  22,524 km  13,999 sm
Missions completed in 2007: 28  119:00 hr  15,271 nm  28,281 km  17,574 sm
Missions completed in 2006: 29  94:00 hr  12,400 nm  22,962 km  14,268 sm
Missions completed in 2005: 17  62:24 hr  8,270 nm  15,315 km  9,518 sm
Missions completed in 2004: 6  30:24 hr  3,798 nm  7,034 km  4,370 sm
Missions completed in 2003: 1  8:24 hr  1,056 nm  1,956 km  1,215 sm
Missions completed overall: 199  712:42 hr  93,021 nm  172,261 km  107,054 sm

How are missions assigned?

Because the missions are not medical emergencies, Angel Flight usually gets plenty of notice (typically 2-3 weeks, but sometimes even months). These missions are put up on the Angel Flight web site's mission billboard, where any registered pilot can put in a bid for a given mission by following a link.

The folks at Angel Flight look at all bids received, and, assign it according to merit. When they are really desperate and have no other takers they assign the mission to me.

If the mission is coming up on short notice (about 2 to 3 days), Angel Flight will send the "likely suspects" (likelihood being determined by geography) an email pointing to the billboard.

On rare occasions, when the assigned pilot is unable to proceed (for example: a bad weather forecast on the day before indicates that it is impossible to do the mission under Visual Flight Rules), Angel Flight directly calls some local pilots, who might be able to do it. I have been assigned a fair few missions on this basis.

On even rarer occasions a mission comes up at only a few hours' notice, in which case Angel Flight might call pilots directly. I was once asked to do such a flight, but, while still in the planning stages, it transpired that the Royal Flying Doctor Service would do the mission.

In the news

Angel Flight is the subject of numerous newspaper articles. Much as the organisation would like to avoid it, sometimes these articles even mention me, or have the copy marred by my ugly visage:

INfLIGHT Magazine

The July issue of the INfLIGHT magazine of macair Airlines (Queensland regional airline and also an Angel Flight airline) carried a story about the Angel Flight awards and Kayla from Mission 224. You can see me at the back row, third from the right.

Satellite Newspaper

The Satellite is the local community paper for the area that I live in. The edition of the 6th of July 2005 carried a small article about me on page 5.

Ergon Energy Company news letter

On the 16th of August 2005 I was asked to accept a cheque to the tune of $1030 from the Health and Safety Office at Ergon Energy. This resulted in a little write up in their internal newsletter.

Central Telegraph

Following my second Mission to Theodore local Lions Club helper, Earth Angel and Nurse Juanita Goodland gave a briefing to the local paper, the Central Telegraph.