Bundy Qantas pilot flies sick boy to the moon
LIKE a true angel, Bundaberg pilot Kate Baldwin's wings go far beyond the plane she flies.
Ms Baldwin typically flies a Bombardier Dash 8, but recently she teamed up with the Make A Wish foundation for Dwayne, a four-year-old with an untreatable form of epilepsy, to make his dream of flying to the moon come true.
"I feel very fortunate to have had the opportunity to volunteer my time and skills to such a special and meaningful cause,” she said.
"His wish was to visit the moon, along with his favourite superheroes Spider-Man and Batman, and plant a special flag he made, marking his achievement of being the '13th man on the moon'.
"Dwayne's Make A Wish flight brought together some amazing people and knowing that our contribution helped to make Dwayne's wish come true is extremely rewarding.”
Ms Baldwin said more than 75 Qantas volunteers in Adelaide worked closely with Make a Wish for more than six months to make Dwayne's dream a reality.
She has been a pilot with Qantas for the past five years, but her passion for aviation is a longer story.
She started her flying journey to become a commercial pilot at the age of 15 after receiving a joy flight voucher from her parents and being instantly drawn to everything aviation had to offer, in particular the dynamic nature of flying and vast travel opportunities.
"There are many young female pilots flying for Qantas,” she said.
"Approximately just over five per cent of Qantas Group Airlines pilots are women.”
Late last year, Qantas announced the Nancy Bird Walton initiative - named after the pioneering Australian aviator - to improve on its five per cent proportion of female pilots.
It commits the Qantas Group to a 20 per cent intake of qualified women in its 2018 Future Pilot Program (which is in line with the proportion of women in aviation courses nationally) and to reach at least 40 per cent over the next decade.
In establishing the academy, Qantas will partner with one of several existing training providers. It will also engage with federal, state and territory governments to discuss possible locations.
Currently, the Qantas Group sources pilots from a mix of new graduates from existing flying schools, pilots from general aviation and the military, and from other commercial airlines.
This is expected to continue in order to provide the different levels of experience needed by the national carrier.
Aspiring pilots wanting to express interest in finding out more about the academy can visit www.qantas.com/ pilotacademy