The life and lessons of a vol­un­teer pilot

Central and North Burnett Times - - NEWS -

TONY Mallins has been vol­un­teer­ing with An­gel Flight for six months.

A re­tired air­line pilot, Mr Mallins used to fly 747s in­ter­na­tion­ally.

After tak­ing early re­tire­ment, he bought a plane to con­tinue pur­su­ing his pas­sion.

“I need to fly and I need to get out of the house, oth­er­wise I drive the mis­sus crazy,” Mr Mallins said.

His sched­ule with An­gel Flight is loose; he flies from an air­field in Red­cliffe out to where An­gel Flight has a job re­stored but when he chooses to fly for them is up to him.

Mr Mallins de­scribed the sit­u­a­tion as a “win-win” with An­gel Flight pay­ing for the fuel, a pilot gets value out of own­ing a plane, which re­quires hold­ing costs to store and main­tain whether it’s flown or not.

“The fixed costs of own­ing an aero­plane are ex­pen­sive, but I have to pay them even if it’s just sit­ting in the hangar,” Mr Mallins said.

“So, I get the ad­van­tage of not hav­ing to pay for my fuel and I get to fly out to the out­back, which I love do­ing.”

Of­ten when he has a job in a ru­ral area, Mr Mallins will fly up a day early and spend some time there.

With An­gel Flight vol­un­teers be­ing pre­dom­i­nately city based, there has been a need to re­cruit vol­un­teers from ru­ral ar­eas, closer to pa­tients.

Mr Mallins was con­fi­dent ru­ral pi­lots could meet the de­mands of the task but was con­cerned about the thought of them trav­el­ling to city air­ports.

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