Lance Burns to the res­cue

Matamata Chronicle - - News -

The Palmer­ston North Res­cue Heli­copter’s new­est re­cruit grew up ad­mir­ing planes at Wa­haroa Air­field.

Pi­lot Lance Burns, 27, orig­i­nally from Mata­mata, left a job fly­ing tourists over the Fox Glacier in the South Is­land to join the two-man Palmer­ston North Res­cue Heli­copter ser­vice.

The ex­pe­ri­enced pi­lot is com­fort­able in the cock­pit of the same type of sin­gle-en­gine chop­per he flew to ferry tourists about, but his pre­cious cargo has changed, with his new role with the air ambu- lance re­quir­ing him to fly pa­tients and paramedics to safety.

‘‘ It’s def­i­nitely a bit of a change,’’ Mr Burns said.

‘‘ The fly­ing part doesn’t change, it’s still a heli­copter . . . but the rea­son I’m fly­ing is dif­fer­ent and adds a lit­tle bit more pres­sure.’’

He jumped at the chance to take on the vi­tal role.

‘‘ I sup­pose it’s just the abil­ity to help peo­ple and make a dif­fer­ence in peo­ple’s lives,’’ he said.

The res­cue heli­copter’s new­est re­cruit and former Mata­mata Col­lege stu­dent faced high- stakes ac­tion al­most im­me­di­ately.

One of his first mis­sions as a res­cue pi­lot re­quired him to make a land­ing in the mid­dle of the road in Dan­nevirke, which he ad­mits was a strange ex­pe­ri­ence.

Since then he has picked up a woman in need of ur­gent med­i­cal treat­ment north of Castle­point af­ter she ac­ci­den­tally stabbed her­self.

Pi­lot and base man­ager Chris Moody, who has been at the helm of the ser­vice since Fe­bru­ary last year, wel­comed Mr Burns aboard.

‘‘ In his first week he man­aged to ne­go­ti­ate the busiest five days we’ve had for many months and he ap­peared to do this with con­sum­mate ease, so we are hop­ing he’s made of the right stuff,’’ Mr Moody said.

Mr Burns re­places pi­lot Marc Bridg­man, who re­signed in De­cem­ber.

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