The RFDS in SA/NT
Meet the team: Line Pilot
Graphic: A lady in her early 30's stands next to a RFDS aircraft. She is wearing a red and navy blue RFDS operational uniform - shirt and pants. She is smiling
Tell us a bit about yourself...
I’m 32-years-old and have wanted to be a pilot as long as I can remember. I grew up in Ballarat in country Victoria and recently joined the team at Alice Springs Base. Outside of work I enjoy horse riding and competing.
What attracted you to the RFDS?
It’s about being part of the team who deliver essential – and often life-saving – services to people in remote areas. I’ll never forget one of my first flights with the Senior Base Pilot to retrieve a young girl. I’ll never forget the look on her grandmother’s face when we stepped out of the aircraft; just sheer relief that the Flying Doctor had arrived, that they were insafe hands. It’s very humbling to be part of that.
What are your first impressions?
I honestly can’t wipe the smile off my face! This is the job I’ve wanted since I first started flying, and it’s even better than I ever thought it would be. The operation runs like clockwork and I’m surrounded by a friendly and professional team.
Can you describe a typical week?
It sounds like a cliché, but no two days are the same. When people talk about the RFDS they tend to focus on our emergency aeromedical services in the outback; – but not so many people know that we also provide essential primary healthcare services and transfer patients between country and city hospitals. We even transfer people interstate for life-saving surgery, such as organ transplants and heart surgery on newborn babies.
Graphic: A woman wearing a red and navy blue RFDS shirt and cargo pants. She is standing next to a RFDS aircraft and is smiling.
What do you enjoy most?
I’m constantly flying into different areas, dealing with different weather conditions – and I’m on my own in the cockpit. It’s totally different to working for a commercial airline, where you fly alongside a co-pilot. We fly in and out of remote areas, often landing on dirt or grass airstrips in the middle of nowhere. That’s what makes it challenging – and so exciting!
What would you say to aspiring pilots?
That it’s a lot of hard work – but so worth it. Joining an organisation like the RFDS won’t be your first job, it takes several years, so prepare yourself and don’t be disheartened if you’re turned down the first time. Just go and get more experience then try again. Once you’re in, you’ll never look back.
Find out more about becoming a pilot with RFDS Central Operations here.