With the devastating fires and floods affecting many areas across Australia in recent months, the Australian Transport Safety Bureau (ATSB) acknowledges the valuable contribution by many aviation operators who have safely supported communities in their times of need.
With unprecedented bushfires burning since September 2019, and more recently areas of severe flooding after a week-long down pour of welcoming rain, a high tempo of civil and military aviation activity has provided vital support during these natural disasters.
ATSB Chief Commissioner Greg Hood said pilots from a range of specialist sectors have helped assist impacted areas across the country to get back on their feet.
“I would like to acknowledge the continued safe work being done by so many people in the aviation industry – both civil and military – who have worked together during this unprecedented summer,” Chief Commissioner Hood said. “Flying in the adverse conditions that we’ve seen predominately along our east coast, whether it’s fighting the fires or supporting communities from the floods, is very challenging and with elevated levels of risk.
“As we all mourn the loss of three American aircrew who were tragically killed in late January when their C-130 Hercules collided with terrain at Peak View near Cooma, NSW, it is important for all of us in aviation to continue to safely serve our nation during this period of natural disasters.”
Australians are no strangers to bushfires and floods. The Australian aviation industry has been a part of the national fabric for many years, safely serving the people in rural and regional Australia, as well as those who live in the cities, safely in their times of need.
February 2020 marks the first anniversary of the Far North and North Queensland monsoonal floods, which caused devastation to cattle farmers across rural and regional Queensland.
“Aerial musterers play a vital role in the day to day operations of cattle stations across the top end of Australia,” Chief Commissioner Hood said. “During the floods last February in the northern parts of Queensland, a group of a dozen helicopter pilots from rural and regional Queensland safely supported farmers through this disaster for over a fortnight, even contributing to some of the costs from their own pockets. This is the true Australian spirit to help those in need during a time of crisis, and we are seeing this spirit reflected today.
“It is important to acknowledge the safe flying culture which is instilled in the Australian aviation industry. While the bushfire season is far from over, I would like to remind all pilots to continue to fly within the limits of their aircraft and themselves.”