When landing, watch out for emus

P6_Captain Magnus_Badger.Senior pilot Magnus Badger has been flying with the RFDS SE Section for 25 years.

Since joining us in 1988, he has flown 13,000 hours to towns scattered across the South Eastern Section, an area the size of France.

Originally from Adelaide, it wasn’t until later in life, when he was attending Prince Alfred College, that piloting became a real career option.

“My father always had a pilot’s licence and always flew a plane and I always thought I liked it.”

Magnus earned his pilot’s licence and took a job flying tourists around the Flinders Ranges for the Wilpena Pound motel.

“They had their own airplane and I’d fly that for them, mainly around Wilpena Pound, Arkaroola and various places to the north of South Australia.”

At 28, he started work in Broken Hill at the Royal Flying Doctor Service base at the airport.

A typical clinic day sees Magnus sign on at 6.45am to read the clinic manifest and organise the flight plan for that day.

He will check the weather and arrange fuelling while the engineers do their daily inspections of the planes.

The crew of eight – usually two doctors, a women’s health nurse, mental health workers and sometimes others – fly out at 7.45am.

“We could go out, say on a Wednesday, to Wilcannia and drop a couple of people off there – a doctor and a nurse perhaps – and then go across to White Cliffs with a doctor or dentist, and then go up to Wanaaring or Hungerford or somewhere like that and drop some people there.

“When the Hungerford clinic is finished we’ll make our way back the same route.”

There are days, however, when things move at a more brisk pace, when there is an Outback accident, a fall from a motorbike or someone suffers a heart attack in a remote location.

Flights are usually controlled and problems are few and far between. He says there is some pressure but he keeps a level head.

“Occasionally we’d get the aircraft bogged on wet airstrips. I’ve run into some emus once, hit a couple of kangaroos but no major damage.”

In the fairly little spare time he gets, Magnus takes regular trips back to Adelaide where he owns a house at Eastwood with wife and former RFDS doctor Elaine and daughter Sally.

But he says when he retires he’d like to buy a plane and travel further afield.

“I’d like to do trips around Australia. That would be good.”

By Kurtis J Eichler. Originally appeared in the Barrier Daily Truth, Broken Hill. Reprinted and edited with thanks.


About Royal Flying Doctor

The Royal Flying Doctor Service has been serving the Australian community for over 85 years. From humble beginnings in 1928, the RFDS now ha
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2 Responses to When landing, watch out for emus

  1. BR says:

    You are doing the best job in the world. I have always had a heart to reach the unreached as well as aviation and have been busy working on my license the last few years…

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