Preventing VFR into IMC

preventing VFR into IMC

Article supplied by CASAWe’ve compiled some useful resources to help visual flight rules (VFR) pilots avoid instrument meteorological conditions (IMC).

A wet airport taxiway under a cloudy sky

Flying VFR into IMC is one of the top causes of aviation accidents around the world. Australia is no exception. The often fatal outcomes of these accidents are even more tragic because they are avoidable.

The key to prevention is thorough pre-flight planning and a personal minimums checklist. This minimises poor or incorrect decision-making caused by the stress of flying into marginal weather.

Common factors

Most inadvertent VFR flights into IMC have common factors:

  • > rushed and incomplete pre-flight planning
  • > misinterpreting/underestimating of threats associated with weather forecasts
  • > overconfidence in adverse conditions
  • > overestimating cloud heights and visibility
  • > using phrases like “scud running”, “she’ll be right, I’ve done this in worse conditions” and “we’re close to our destination”.
  • > pressure from passengers to go
  • > pressure from yourself to go.

All the resources listed below are available on the website. You can also visit the weather and forecasting page of the Pilot safety hub.





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RFDS to open its first permanent GP clinic in Kalgoorlie

RFDS to open its first permanent GP clinic in Kalgoorlie

Article supplied by RFDS.  The Royal Flying Doctor Service of Western Australia (RFDS WA) will open its first permanent GP clinic in Kalgoorlie in late 2024 to support the growing demand for primary health care in the Goldfields.

RFDS GP with patient

The establishment of the GP clinic is a key initiative in the RFDS WA’s 2024 – 2028 Strategy Above & Beyond and marks the beginning of a broader primary health care expansion for the RFDS, with plans to establish additional GP clinics in other regions across WA where it’s needed most.

The GP clinic in Kalgoorlie will complement the medical services already available to the Goldfields community.

A key feature of the clinic will be the involvement of allied health students who will work alongside GPs, providing a holistic health experience for patients. 

This model also offers regional training opportunities for the next generation of health care workers, encouraging them to remain in the regions where demand for medical care is greatest.

The new RFDS GP clinic is made possible with the support of Curtin University, the WA Country Health Service and Northern Star Resources. Further information about the clinic including the launch date, location and opening times will be available soon.

If you or someone you know is interested in working for the RFDS, please view our current vacancies.

RFDS WA Retrieval Nurse Beth with Northern Star

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Maintenance Month takes flight

CASA maintenance month May

Get ready for the month of May to turn purple as we’re shining a light on all thing’s maintenance engineering, during our inaugural Maintenance Month.

Maintenance month

We’re highlighting the pivotal role of aircraft maintenance engineers while also inspiring individuals to explore career opportunities as aircraft mechanics.

Throughout May, our communication channels will be drenched in purple as we host a series of engaging online webinars featuring our very own engineer experts.

Additionally, we are excited to announce an exclusive social media competition for aircraft maintenance engineers and apprentices, with an opportunity to win one of three $500 Snap-on Tools voucher.

Furthermore, Maintenance Month will serve as a showcase of the diverse and rewarding career opportunities available within the field of aircraft maintenance.

From highlighting the technical prowess required to ensuring aircraft safety to emphasising the meticulous attention to detail inherent in every aspect of maintenance work, this initiative aims to foster a deeper appreciation for the crucial work carried out by aircraft maintenance professionals.

Be sure to check out our communication and social media channels and spread the word the word to you friends, colleagues and stakeholders.

Snap-on Tools social media competition

Calling all aircraft apprentices and aircraft maintenance engineers — we’ve got a competition exclusively for you!

Is your toolbox looking a little bare?

This is your opportunity to give it a boost with top-notch equipment, with the chance to win 1 of 3 $500 Snap-on Tools vouchers!

How to enter

To enter:

  1. Follow us on Facebook and Instagram.
  2. Subscribe to our aircraft maintenance engineer mailing list.
  3. Tag a fellow engineer who should also participate!

Entries close 4pm Friday 24 May.Terms and conditions

Winners will be randomly selected.

One entry per person.

You must have completed all 3 items under ‘How to enter’. You must also provide proof of your occupation as either one of the following:

  • an aircraft apprentice
  • an aircraft trade assistant
  • unlicensed aircraft maintenance engineer.

Open to Australian residents only.

This giveaway is not sponsored, endorsed, administered by, or associated with Facebook or Instagram.

We’ll notify the winners via email and how to claim their voucher.

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Angel Flight & IFFR- kindred spirits of the sky

Angel Flight & IFFR- kindred spirits of the sky

One of the best kept secrets in Rotary is the number of Fellowships, over 100 recently counted which cater for the special interest of their many members.

Rotary Fellowships are international groups that share a common passion. Being part of a fellowship is a fun way to make friends around the world, explore a hobby or profession, and enhance your Rotary experience.

These groups help expand skills, foster vocational development, and enhance the Rotary experience by exploring interests while developing connections around the world.

The International Fellowship of Flying Rotarians (“IFFR”) is one such group of like-minded aviation enthusiasts, some of whom are either aspiring, current or past pilots, who enjoy the fun and fellowship of getting together twice a year in interesting places around the globe.

Globally they are some 1,200 IFFR members, mostly active Rotarians, who proudly wear their IFFR “Wings” spreading the word about Rotary in their respective communities whilst linking their passion for aviation through offering “Service Above Self”, often engaging as volunteers in the emerging concept of “Public Benefit Flying”.

In Australia and New Zealand there are some 120 members in the ranks of IFFR. The concept of Public Benefit Flying is very familiar to them, some also being active pilots or Earth Angels for Angel Flight.

According to Mike McFarlane, who is a long time Angel Flight pilot volunteer and currently IFFR’s VP Asia & Australasia, “There is no better form of flying for a pilot than Angel Flights where you can enjoy your passion for aviation and at the same time make a real and visible difference to another person in need of ongoing medical help”.

Rob Hannemann who is the current IFFR Australian President 2022-24 and an Angel Flight pilot believes there is a natural fit between Angel Flight volunteers and IFFR members. Both groups are dedicated to doing good in the world. He believes, “there is the opportunity for other Angel Flight folk to join in the adventures of IFFR on six-monthly Fly-Aways plus importantly more IFFR members become part of Angel Flight family”.

Angel Flight CEO Marjorie Pagani sees great scope for working together for our mutual benefit building on Rotary’s “Service Above Self” to involve more Rotarians in the activities of Angel flight and IFFR. As Marjorie says, “In a similar vein to Rotary, the success of Angel Flight is due to the fact that our volunteers gain enormous satisfaction from giving their skills and resources to help fellow Australians in need. It is their way of making a very personal contribution to the community in which they live. The natural synergy between Rotary and Angel Flight has led to an enduring relationship and one we intend to build upon to bolster our community service position and ultimately, help more people in need. ”

There is no doubt that Angel Flight, Rotary and IFFR are community service kindred spirits; committed to doing good in the world by extending a helping hand and providing their talents, skills and resources to those in need.

The next two IFFR Australian FlyAways are in Queensland- 12-15th April from Toowoomba and another in October with details upon request. Angel Flight Pilots and Earth Angels would be most welcome to join in the fun and fellowship; just call Rob or Mike for the weekend details.

For information on IFFR or Angel Flight, please contact PP Rob Hannemann, Australian IFFR President 2022-24 on 0439 754 290 or PP Mike McFarlane IFFR WPE 2024-26 on 0418 317 418.

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Meet the Flying Doctor’s female pilots

Meet the flying doctor's female pilots

Article supplied by RFDS Every March, Women of Aviation Worldwide Week is held in recognition of French Aviator Raymonde de Laroche becoming the first woman to be issued a flying licence on 8 March 1910.

The RFDS is proud of the women on our aviation team who followed in the footsteps of Raymonde de Laroche.

For the RFDS, Women of Aviation Worldwide Week marks an important opportunity to highlight the valuable contributions made by the women in our aviation teams, and to encourage more women and girls to consider a career in aviation.

To mark the week, we reached out to our five female pilots at RFDS SA/NT to ask them what their job means to them. Here’s what they said...

RFDS Pilot Heather Ford

Heather Ford – Pilot/Training & Checking Coordinator, Adelaide Base

“I know celebrating five female pilots in RFDS SA/NT may sound cheesy or corny, however it is a major achievement for the organisation to be proud of. Aviation can be quite challenging, especially as there have been a lot of opinions and behaviours formed in the 60s and 70s. These industry norms have slowly changed over my career in aviation, and I look forward to seeing it completely change in the not-to-distant future… Given that the industry figure worldwide is approximately five to six per cent, we are a minority. It is essential to promote the number of lady pilots that the RFDS has, for many reasons, but my main one is so that the young girls can see they can be pilots, astronauts, engineers, doctors and they can start imagining themselves in those positions and make it a reality.”

RFDS Pilot Jessica Dettmer

Jessica Dettmer – Pilot, Adelaide Base

“It’s been my childhood dream to come work for the RFDS and I am extremely grateful to now work along such dedicated, knowledgeable, and experienced flight and medical crews. Digging into the aeromedical side has been a fresh yet rewarding challenge for me and I enjoy how every day is something new. I also love the balance of living in the city, but still having chance to venture outback. Each day I am part of a team to improve care and enhance the lives of those who need it most, and that’s incredibly fulfilling.”

RFDS Pilot Kellie Job

Kellie Job – Pilot, Alice Springs Base

“I’ve been an aeromedical pilot for six years and am still privileged to be a part of people’s stories. We only see people for a small part of what in many cases is a long journey to recovery for them and their families, but being part of an amazing team that puts so much care into caring for our patients for that brief period of time to try and make their journey that little bit easier is what being a part of the RFDS means to me.”

RFDS Pilot Laura Koerbin

Laura Koerbin – Pilot, Adelaide Base

“Flying for the RFDS is meaningful to me as it allows me to feel deeply rewarded by the work I do every day. I’m thankful on the daily to be able to work with such a talented and like-minded team of experts, delivering 24/7 care to all corners of the state. Working for the RFDS means I am excited to come to work every day and see first-hand the impact my role can have on someone’s life. I wanted to work for the RFDS as a means of giving back to the community and it’s so rewarding and meaningful to me to be able to see that happening with every job. This is a role that pushes me to keep challenging myself, to be flexible and adaptable, and to always be learning from the people I work with. It’s my dream job and I’m very lucky to love what I do.”

RFDS Pilot Ellie Gray

Ellie Gray – Pilot, Alice Springs Base

“I’m passionate about service to the community, especially rural and remote communities, and I love flying. The RFDS brings everything together in a strong and professional organisation, with an inspiring legacy. I’m proud to serve my community as part of the RFDS.”

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Dan Hamood was opal fossicking when he fell into a mine shaft

Dan Hamood was opal fossicking when he fell into a mineshaft

Article supplied by RFDS

In this gripping episode of The Flying Doctor Podcast, we hear the harrowing tale of Dan Hammoud, an opal miner and concreter from Monash, South Australia, who narrowly escaped death after falling into a 22-meter-deep mine shaft near Coober Pedy.

Despite the odds stacked against him, Dan’s survival story is a testament to resilience, community, and the vital role of services like the Royal Flying Doctor Service.

The story highlights the challenges and dangers of being trapped in a remote location with serious injuries and limited resources.

Dan’s resourcefulness, resilience, and quick thinking played a crucial role in his survival.

Mining site image

For Dan, opal mining is more than just a hobby – it’s a way of life. He describes it as a release, a way to escape the monotony of everyday life and be stimulated by the challenges and excitement of mining.

Despite the dangers of mining in a remote and harsh environment like Coober Pedy, Dan finds solace in the solitude and adventure that comes with the territory.

The incident occurred when Dan, out blacklighting for opals at night, accidentally stepped into a deep mine shaft, plummeting 22 meters into darkness.

With a broken femur and arm, Dan found himself trapped at the bottom of the shaft, alone and without water for nearly 24 hours.

Mining site

The Royal Flying Doctor Service played a crucial role in Dan’s survival, airlifting him to Adelaide for urgent medical care.

Dan’s rescue, however, was not without its challenges, highlighting the difficulties of accessing medical assistance in remote areas.

Dan’s story has prompted discussions within the mining community about the importance of safety protocols and the need for greater awareness of the risks associated with opal mining.

While opal mining is undoubtedly a rewarding pursuit, it also carries inherent dangers that cannot be ignored.

Opals found in SA

One of the key lessons from Dan’s experience is the importance of never becoming complacent when working in high-risk environments.

Dan’s advice to always be aware of one’s surroundings and to avoid taking unnecessary risks resonates strongly with fellow miners, who recognize the need for heightened vigilance in the field.

Moreover, Dan’s emphasis on the value of having a companion when exploring the opal fields underscores the importance of looking out for one another’s safety.

In remote regions where help may be hours away, having a partner can mean the difference between life and death.

Opal Mining

As Dan continues his recovery, his story serves as a cautionary tale for miners everywhere.

While the allure of opal mining may be irresistible, it is essential to prioritize safety above all else.

Dan’s brush with death serves as a sobering reminder of the fragility of life and the importance of taking every precaution to ensure a safe return home.

In conclusion, Dan Hammoud’s near-death experience has sparked important conversations within the mining community about the need for greater safety awareness and precautions.

His story serves as a wake-up call for miners to prioritize safety and vigilance in their pursuit of precious gems.

As the mining community comes together to reflect on Dan’s ordeal, there is hope that his experience will lead to positive changes that prevent similar accidents in the future.

If you haven’t listened to the episode yet, head over to The Flying Doctor Podcast and give it a listen. And don’t forget to share this inspiring story with your friends and family!

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Plan to improve colour vision deficiency policy for pilots

Plan to improve colour vision deficiency policy for pilots

Article supplied by CASA Work is underway to settle and formalise colour vision testing options for pilots who are not able to pass clinical colour vision tests.

Plan to improve colour vision article

Our aim is to have new testing options available for pilots by the end of April that are formally prescribed through a legislative instrument. The tests will recognise that many pilots with a colour vision deficiency can demonstrate they are able to operate safely and competently without any medical or operational restrictions.

Consultation is currently underway through our Aviation Safety Advisory Panel, and public consultation on the proposed testing options is expected before the end of March.

The options will include an operational test designed to demonstrate a pilot’s ability to fly an aircraft safely through a robust and standardised operational test.

Interim measures

Pilots who are unable to pass the prescribed Ishihara or Farnsworth colour vision clinical tests and are seeking to renew their medical certificate are encouraged to call our Aviation Medicine team on 131 757 to discuss their individual circumstances.

We will work hard to ensure this interim period is as least disruptive as possible, whilst satisfying current safety and regulatory requirements.

Draft instrument for Class 5 self declaration medical reform

AOPA class 5 medical self declaration reform

Article suplied by AOPA

The Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association of Australia encourages all of our members and national supporters to download the DRAFT CASA EX**/24 Instrument for Class 5 Self-Declaration and to provide your direct feedback to both the Civil Aviation Safety Authority and the Minister for Infrastructure.


Click to Download:   CASA EX**/24 – Class 5 Medical Self-Declarations Exemption 2023 – DRAFT


Pip Spence
Director of Aviation Safety
Civil Aviation Safety Authority

Catherine King MP
Minister for Infrastructure, Transport & Regional Development

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New Class 5 medical self declaration scheme now available

CASA class 5 medical

Article supplied by CASA

A new Class 5 medical self-declaration scheme is now available to recreational and private pilots.

The new scheme will allow pilots to fly in aircraft up to 2000kg with one passenger if they self-assess and self-declare their health status, meet fitness and eligibility requirements and pass an online test.

Late last year we consulted on the draft policy proposal with feedback indicating that some of the operational limitations and excluded medical conditions were too restrictive.

As this is the first of its kind in Australia, we are taking an iterative and initially conservative approach.

The scheme is based on comprehensive risk analysis and a careful examination of what other safety authorities do overseas. It includes operational limitations on what you can do when flying with a Class 5.

We will also conduct a post implementation review and consider some of the current exclusions and effectiveness of the self-declaration scheme as well as progress a Class 4 certificate that will create more operational flexibility with the involvement of a GP.

To support applicants and healthcare practitioners, we have developed an online training module and comprehensive guidance material.

Pilots can apply through the myCASA portal.

Learn more about the Class 5 medical self-declaration.

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RFDS named Australia’s most reputable charity

RFDS most reputable charity 2023

Article supplied by RFDS

Australia’s Most Reputable Charity. Twelve times.

The RFDS was recently recognised as Australia’s Most Reputable Charity for the 12th time in Reptrak’s annual charity and not-for-profit study (2023).

Reptrak’s independent survey measures key areas such as trust, admiration, respect and overall esteem within the Australian charity sector.

Health and wellbeing remain a clear priority for all Australians with each of the five leading charities focussed on the physical health and wellbeing of Australians.


“A patient’s trust in their medical services is vital – particularly if they are living in locations that don’t have easy access to the services enjoyed in our cities,” RFDS Federation Executive Director, Frank Quinlan said.

“At the RFDS, we are humbled that we continue to earn the public’s trust in the provision of emergency medical and primary healthcare services to rural, regional and remote Australia. It gives us great pride to know that communities and families rely on us – and we are honoured to do such work. Our thanks go to every staff member, volunteer and supporter who is part of the RFDS team.”

This 2023 Charity RepTrak® survey result is testament to RFDS strong partnerships and relationships across the country, as well as the wonderful ongoing efforts of first responders, locals that clear and light dirt airstrips, long-serving custodians of medical chests, rural hosts for clinics, volunteers, fundraisers, sponsors, donors and supporters.

We thank them all for their tireless work to keep Aussies safe.

What is the Australian Charity Reputation (RepTrak®) Index?

For years, RepTrak (formerly known as the Reputation Institute) has published the Australian Charity Reputation Index, which ranks Australia’s 40 largest charities using a scoring system measuring areas such as trust, admiration, respect and overall esteem.

Measuring the perceptions of the community, the RepTrak index is focuses of seven drivers of reputation: Citizenship, Services, Innovation, Conduct, Leadership, Workplace and Cost Management.

This year, the RFDS scored a total of 96.6 points (out of 100), followed by Guide Dogs (93.3), The Fred Hollows Foundation (92.6), St John Ambulance (92.5) and Surf Life Saving Australia (92.3) rounding out the top five.