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Father and son saving lives in a LifeFlight first



Michael and Trevor Wilson

It was one for the LifeFlight record books when a father and son pilot duo airlifted a five-year-old girl from Dalby to the Queensland Children’s Hospital in Brisbane.

RACQ LifeFlight Rescue helicopter pilots Trevor and Michael Wilson have enjoyed successful careers in the aviation industry, but it was the first time they had flown together on an aeromedical mission.

When a normal day in the office is in a helicopter big enough to house medical crew, aircrew, a patient and medical equipment, their jobs are anything but ordinary.

As a child, Michael spent his time playing on similar helicopters that he now flies as a pilot
Dad Trevor worked for several aviation services through Michael’s upbringing, and a career in flying was already in his blood.

“I’ve always been around helicopters, and particularly rescue helicopters, from a young age due to being Trevor’s kid,” Michael said.
“As any young kid will attest, something that’s loud and fast will always grab your attention.
“This is the first time we have worked together on a mission, but we have worked adjacent a couple of times through training.

“The best thing is being able to see him in his ‘work environment’, because you get an idea about what has made him tick all these years.”

HelicopterTrevor has been flying choppers for decades and has worked for several prominent aeromedical services in Australia.

“I’ve been flying for 30 years now. I’m a pilot and a flight examiner at the LifeFlight Training Academy,” he said.

“For the last 23 years, I was the Head of Flying Operations for Queensland Government Air (QGAir), and my role at the time was to bring the AW139 helicopters into Australia in 2007.

“Before that, I was chief pilot for the Westpac Rescue Helicopter Service in Lismore for seven years.
“It’s something I always wanted to do as a kid. I always wanted to be a builder, a police officer, and a helicopter pilot, and I’ve done all three.”

Trevor said when you work as a pilot for a rescue service, there’s a sacrifice to be made – the patient always comes first and public holidays are often spent in the chopper.

“Families of the staff would come to the base on Christmas Day and we’d celebrate in the hangar,” he said.
“I remember telling Michael when he was a kid not to touch the helicopters, and now he gets paid to touch them.”

Michael has been flying for 17 years and has spent the last two working at LifeFlight.

“LifeFlight is a pretty iconic organisation to fly for, especially as a Queenslander. They’ve been doing brilliant work for decades. I remember seeing the helicopters on the Gold Coast when they first started,” he said.

The dynamic duo works out of Brisbane Airport, where LifeFlight connects more Queenslanders to major hospitals and 24/7 life-saving medical care.

The Brisbane- based RACQ LifeFlight Rescue crews were tasked to 172 missions from January to April this year, while its fixed wing jet crews completed 196 medical transfers.

Brisbane Airport CEO Gert-Jan de Graaff, said the airport and LifeFlight had forged a strong partnership.
“The LifeFlight crews based at Brisbane Airport play an extremely important 24/7 role for the Queensland community,” he said.

“LifeFlight is a pioneer when it comes to rescuing and retrieving critically injured patients, whether it is in the South East or regional Queensland.

“Its jets also play an essential role in bringing Australians who have been injured overseas back home.

“We’re proud to partner with LifeFlight and to back the teams of men and women on the frontline of providing urgent medical care to those who need it fast.”

For Trevor and Michael, that means saving more lives and notching up more flying hours together.