Free flight service Wings4Kidz unveiled their newest aircraft in Dubbo on Tuesday, with some very special cargo on board. This was the first time that Dubbo’s Eliza Quinn, 7, and her mother, Fiona, have flown with the aviation charity.
Eliza has Cerebal Palsy and had an appointment with John Hunter Children’s Hospital in Newcastle. What would normally be a days worth of travelling in the car only took an hour in the high performance PC12 Pilatus aircraft.
Thanks to recommendations from friends who have previously used the service, the Quinn’s got in touch with Wings4Kidz pilot and founder Kevin Robinson who organised their trip so that Eliza could see her orthotics specialist.
Fiona and her husband Michael said they had looked into other flight services for seriously ill children before, but that they were never able to access them due to the specific criteria.
“This is the first one we’ve been able to access for Eliza… We didn’t need a doctors certificate or anything like that,” Ms Quinn said.
“Kevin makes it so easy to get help.. it’s just one less thing to worry about.”
Fiona and Eliza, together with their Wings4Kidz pilots take off from Dubbo airport to Newcastle.
Newcastle based Chairman Jeff McCloy is supporting Wings4Kidz with the PC12 Pilatus aircraft.
The latest aircraft is primarily based at Bankstown airport, and will be used to support families primarily from the Hunter and New England regions to attend essential medical appointments at John Hunter Children’s Hospital Newcastle, and The Children’s Hospital at Westmead.
Wings4Kidz also provides the ground transport from the airport to the hospital and the whole service uses volunteers, with 100 per cent of community donations going to flights, and no administration or wages are incurred.
Charity founder Kevin Robinson has been responsible for over 1000 flights since 2012 and received the Australian of the Year – Local Hero NSW award in 2015 for his work, and Volunteer of the Year NSW 2014
The new aircraft is a very significant and important step forward for the charity, not only in terms of the safety and performance of this aircraft, but also its passenger capacity.
The Quinn’s, plus another family flew on the day firstly for treatment, then home together, all in the one day.
This would normally require two planes, but this newest aircraft can carry 8 passengers on the flight, allowing many more children and families to be helped with this important free service.