Pilot Owen Crees has volunteered his time for over 220 flights to connect rural people with vital health services in Adelaide.
The volunteer has been flying in and out of the Cleve Aerodrome for the past few weeks, helping locals skip lengthy and expensive road trips to get the treatment they need.
Dr Crees took John Nolan, accompanied by his wife Margaret on his first Angel Flight last Wednesday.
Mr Nolan needed to visit the Royal Adelaide Hospital for pre-admission to surgery before returning the following week for the operation.
With Dr Crees’s help, the couple were able to return home between visits in his own aircraft.
Mr Nolan expressed gratitude at the simplicity of visiting Adelaide, with the charity providing free transport to and from the airport.
While Angel Flight refuses to accept money for the flights it organises, the Nolans said they would be making a donation to the organisation out of gratitude.
For Dr Crees, volunteering for Angel Flight over ten years ago was an easy decision.
“It just seemed to me to be the perfect thing for a pilot to be involved in,” he said.
With pilots requiring a certain amount of flying hours to maintain their license, the role is a perfect way to get up in the air for a good cause.
“Every time you pick up a passenger, you’re reminded how difficult it is for country people to get the help that city people take for granted,” he said.
“To me it’s been a privilege to be able to do it.”
Dr Crees said the demand for flights in the state was increasing, and Angel Flight was always searching for more volunteers.
Pilots wishing to volunteer their time and aircraft can visit www.angelflight.org.au