By Tilly Smith Dix
Quietly giving his time, resources and the use of his aircraft, Bob Boyd, Managing Director and Chief Flying Instructor of Yarra Valley Flight Training at Coldstream Airport, has been flying Angel Flights to assist families who need to travel to Melbourne for medical tests and treatment since 2011.
I only came to hear of Bob’s kindness when my aviator husband recently accompanied him on a return flight to Hay in NSW, not far from the Victorian border. Bob had flown there several days earlier to collect a young mother and her epileptic child in need of ongoing medical attention.
Bob flies out of Coldstream to towns mostly within the state of Victoria, from where passengers need to be transported to either Essendon or Moorabbin Airports for Melbourne’s top medical facilities. Once his charges have been safely handed over for Angel Flight ground transportation to the required hospital, he returns to his base at Coldstream Airport.
Bob Boyd of Coldstream Flying School at Yarra Valley Flight Training.
He explains the difference between a mercy flight and an Angel Flight as follows: a mercy flight is required for urgent and life-threatening situations, whilst an Angel Flight assists people to attend their scheduled medical tests and treatments not available in most country towns. This provides some leeway should weather conditions or other factors compromise a mission flight.
What decided Bob to contribute his valuable time and utilise aircraft of Yarra Valley Flight Training for no remuneration to help people living in more rural outlying regions? “Donating our time and resources to help a sick child, or adult, is the right thing to do,” he says.
“Sometimes an aircraft also needs utilisation, so an Angel Flight serves a practical purpose for our training centre as well,” he states.
Bob welcomes student pilots and other licensed pilots to accompany him on such flights. They gain experience and it helps him to focus on the logistics, whilst his co-pilot ensures luggage loading and the comfort of the passengers are taken care of.
Sharing the responsibility of such a flight with a fellow aviator is of benefit to all concerned, he says.
The qualifications required to participate in this worthy cause are higher than the basic CASA requirements; a private pilot’s licence with a minimum of 200 hours in command, and a minimum of 10 hours experience in the particular aeroplane utilised for the Angel Flight.
Bob encourages other experienced pilots to do the same and suggests they register online at www.angelflight.org.au
Bob and his team’s day job comprises flight training at Coldstream Flying School – Yarra Valley Flight Training.
Contact Yarra Valley Flight Training at: www.YVFT.com.au– call 03 9739 1406 – 96 Killara Road, Coldstream, Victoria –