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Perilous journey all for the doctor

Tuesday, 29th March, 2011

TOUCHING BASE: Pilot Jeremy Rowsell visited the RFDS base yesterday to promote the trans-Pacific trip he and fellow pilot Jim Hazelton will attempt next week . TOUCHING BASE: Pilot Jeremy Rowsell visited the RFDS base yesterday to promote the trans-Pacific trip he and fellow pilot Jim Hazelton will attempt next week .

A pilot who is raising funds for the Royal Flying Doctor Service was at the local base yesterday to promote his "Flying for Doctors", an event that is regarded as the ultimate piloting challenge.

Pilot Jeremy Rowsell, along with fellow pilot Jim Hazelton, will attempt to emulate Charles Kingsford-Smith's 1928 trans-Pacific trip but in a single-engined Beechcraft 36.

Mr Rowsell said he had been a long-term RFDS donor since coming to Australia from England in 1988 and saw the challenge as way to honour doctors, nurses, pilots and everyone else in the RFDS.

"For a pilot this is the ultimate challenge, the aeronautical equivalent of climbing Mount Everest," Mr Rowsell said.

"Jim Hazelton has been flying for almost 60 years, he is incredibly experienced."

He and Mr Hazelton, the co-founder of Hazelton Airlines, will leave Oakland, California on Thursday week. They plan to return to Australia on April 12, 13 or 14.

"It's aviation history in the re-making," Mr Rowsell said.

"Kingsford Smith made his historic flight in 1928, the same year as the Royal Flying Doctor Service first took flight from Cloncurry in Queensland - a perfect synergy between two aviation icons."

While re-creating aviation history Mr Rowsell and Mr Hazelton will raise money to help the RFDS buy seven flight data recorders for their aircraft.

"They will raise the all-up weight for the aircraft and that enables them to go further, carry more and deliver more ... all donations small or large will go towards this," Mr Rowsell said.

RFDS Executive Director Clyde Thomson said it was an enormous challenge for the pilots to do this trip in just a single-engined plane.

"It raises the profile of the Royal Flying Doctor Service and also funds for flight recorders," Mr Thomson said.

"This has generated a lot of interest and I look forward to when they land in Sydney."

For more information or to donate visit www.flying4thedoctors.com.

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