Pilot Simon Phelps taking a selfie infront of an aircraft.

Graphic: Pilot Simon Phelps taking a selfie infront of an aircraft.

Pilot Simon's 20 years

Date published

30 Apr 2023

“I wanted to give back to the rural community in some way so the RFDS was my next logical step.” Twenty years later and Simon is still flying for the RFDS!

Pilot Simon standing in front of an RFDS aircraft.

Simon Phelps grew up on a sheep and cereal farm on the Eyre Peninsula in South Australia. For as long as he can remember, Simon has been fascinated by planes and flying. He began flying for a local airline and after the business was sold, Simon made the decision to stay ‘rural’.

“I wanted to give back to the rural community in some way so the RFDS was my next logical step.”

Twenty years later and Simon is still flying for the RFDS!

"I can honestly say the last 20 years has flown by – quite literally! Knowing you are making a difference in someone’s life when they are at their most vulnerable really makes the job worthwhile."

“Working with an amazing bunch of like-minded people, whether other pilots or medical staff, engineers or support staff certainly plays a big factor in why you keep turning up day after day to do this job.”

As well as being passionate about flying, Simon also has a passion for photography.

“Being a keen photographer, I have had some memorable flights that have taken me over some of the most amazing scenery WA has to offer. The coastline around Broome’s Roebuck Bay is very interesting, especially when the tide is out. The stirred-up sand and mud amongst the turquoise water makes for some interesting patterns.

Keep an eye on our social media channels for more photography by Simon.

“The Hamersley Ranges in the Pilbara are also amazing to see, especially early in the morning or late in the afternoon when the red colour of the hills really stands out.

“I recently transferred to the Kalgoorlie Base after 20 years in the North West, and I’m looking forward to admiring the views southern WA has to offer from both an aerial perspective and from the ground.”

Simon has many memories from working as a pilot for the RFDS, including his one and only road landing:

“We were tasked with retrieving a couple of guys who had been involved in a car rollover near Nanutarra Roadhouse in the Pilbara. We expected the road to be closed for our landing, but as we flew over, we saw cars and trucks still driving along the road. The roadhouse had blocked traffic from their end, but no one had stopped traffic coming from the south. We waited until the vehicles were cleared before we could land. We were on the ground for so long stabilising the patients, it fell dark before we left. We ended up using car headlights to light up the road for our take-off. As pilots we train for this, but to do it in real life is a huge adrenaline rush!”

Birdseye view photo taken above the coastline of Broome's Roebuck Bay.