TAKING OFF: Paul Irvine and Angel Flight pilot Scott Hutchinson depart for Brisbane.
TAKING OFF: Paul Irvine and Angel Flight pilot Scott Hutchinson depart for Brisbane. Contributed

Could you be an angel for patients needing transport?

MEDICAL flight service Angel Flight is on a drive to recruit volunteer pilots from rural communities.

For Monto resident Paul Irvine, the service could not be more crucial.

Before he started using Angel Flight, Mr Irvine used to drive down to Brisbane, which took six times as long and was harmful for his condition.

"It takes six hours to drive down to Brisbane and driving down and back, it usually takes me a few days to get over it,” he said.

"It doesn't do you any good; it buggers you up, you get very tired and haven't got any go in you at all.”

Mr Irvine lost a lung to carcinoid tumour cancer in 2012 and needs regular treatment at the Royal Brisbane Hospital.

Once of only two regular users of the service in Monto, he takes a flight out to the hospital from Monto Airport usually once every couple of months.

"I started using them around about two years ago,” Mr Irvine said.

"The pilot supplies the aeroplane, their own time, the only thing Angel Flight picks up is the fuel.

"When you hit the ground, they have the drivers, called Earth Angels, who also supply their own time and everything; it's a fantastic service.”

The requirement for using an Angel Flight service is that the passenger is capable of getting on and off the plane under their own power.

Angel Flight is not an aero-medical service; all equipment is provided by the pilots. There is no medical equipment supplied.

Due to a shortage of volunteer pilots in rural communities, including Monto which has none, Angel Flight is on a drive to recruit volunteers.


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