RFDS (Queensland Section) Pilot Shane Wise

Graphic: RFDS (Queensland Section) Pilot Shane Wise

A Wise choice of careers

Date published

23 Oct 2018

At the age of 40, Shane Wise, felt it was time for a career change and a flying lesson gifted by his wife cemented just that. Having an avid interest in flying from a young age, Shane knew this was something he always wanted to do but never took up the opportunity until that moment.

“I was at a point in my life where I just knew IT consulting was not what I wanted to do anymore, so I thought … how about I do something I have always wanted and become a pilot?” Shane said.

Knowing that he didn’t want to become a commercial airline pilot, the RFDS immediately appealed to him.

“I wanted to do something different and I’ve always had an interest in helping people, so I knew the RFDS was where I wanted to go. I just needed to figure out how.”

From that moment, Shane began working towards accruing the hours needed for a role with the RFDS. Over seven years, and through numerous pilot roles, Shane accrued his hours and landed the opportunity to become a pilot for the RFDS Alice Springs Base.

“In the four years I was working with Central Operations I gained so much experience, and when my wife and I decided to make the move back to Queensland a job opportunity in Charleville presented itself so I took it. Really, it all just fell into place,” Shane said.

So, Shane, his wife, and their two dogs made the move to Charleville.

Shane with an RFDS aircraft

For Shane, each day is different bringing an exciting element to the job, whether it be working on the flights for clinics, inter-hospital transfers or primary retrievals. 

“Airline pilots get up and know what their route is, but for us it changes every day. No two retrievals are the same, in fact, no day is ever the same and being involved in helping deliver people safely to care is really amazing,” he said. 

“In this role you have to be flexible and think on the run — it’s constantly evolving and that’s the whole reason why I do it and why I love it.”

One clinic in particular that stood out to Shane was in Windorah in August 2018.

“We were in the process of packing up the clinic to head back to Charleville when a woman and her husband came in at the last minute — he was having a heart attack.” 

It was clear that Shane and his team were running on borrowed time so a plan needed to be made on the spot. As their shift was coming to an end, the next rostered aeromedical team was quickly called and asked to come in early to help safely transfer the patient to care.

“Once we realised the severity of the situation, we quickly worked to fly the patient to Charleville and transferred him onto the other aircraft. They immediately took off for Toowoomba so he could receive the care he needed,” said Shane.

“A few weeks later, we got a lovely letter from his wife thanking us for everything we did. Seeing things like that is what makes this job so rewarding.”

In his spare time, Shane is an avid photographer (see photos below) and plays guitar — both of which he’s been doing since school. However, his real passion lies with flying and the love of the job.

“I never get up in the morning and say, ‘I don’t want to go to work today’. For me, every day brings something different and that’s what I love about working with the RFDS.”

RFDS aircraft Yowah
Dust storm Yowah
RFDS aircraft in dust storm

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