The life and lessons of a volunteer pilot
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.