When Steve Wallace says he would fly to the moon and back to save a life, he isn't joking. He and his dedicated team at the Royal Flying Doctor Service (RFDS) fly the equivalent of 34 round trips to the moon every year, providing vital health care and 24-hour emergency services to people in rural and remote Australia. And with a waiting room of 7.69 million square kilometres, Steve's daily commute isn't for the travel weary.
Steve, from North Lakes, earned his wings in 1999. Having always had a passion for flying, his sense for adventure and desire to help people led him to pursue an aeromedical career.
Now based with the RFDS (Queensland Section) at Brisbane Airport, Steve pilots one of 69 aircraft that make up the largest and most comprehensive aeromedical organisations in the world. In his role as Senior Base Pilot, he has helped thousands of unwell, injured and stranded residents and visitors.
"I love that I'm not just flying around the sky just delivering people from A to B, but actually involved hands on in the community, helping people in their greatest time of need."
During his eight years with the RFDS, Steve has flown Beechcraft B200s to many emergencies, including complicated births in remote towns, outback road crashes and near fatal snake bites. His flight paths span western Queensland to Cape York Peninsula, with one thing in common - the nearest Doctor is often thousands of miles away.
"Most rural towns don't have hospitals, or potentially even a Doctor, and facilities like specialist burns, spinal and paediatric cardiology units are only in Brisbane or Townsville," he said.
"We're responsible for getting our patients to the care they need."
For Australia's eight million rural residents, Steve's aeromedical efficiency is vital in an emergency.
With more than 3,800 flights out of BNE alone last year, having an aviation precinct so close to Brisbane's leading tertiary hospitals is more than just convenient - it's life-saving."
NEED TO KNOW