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Path now clear for Angel Flight

GREAT HELP: St George resident Ashley Bagnall and her three-year-old son Tyler James Nichols rely on Angel Flight for Tyler’s medical treatment and specialist care in Brisbane.
GREAT HELP: St George resident Ashley Bagnall and her three-year-old son Tyler James Nichols rely on Angel Flight for Tyler’s medical treatment and specialist care in Brisbane. David Barwell

ANGEL Flight has wings to soar safely again after the Civil Aviation Safety Authority decided not to pursue regulatory changes to the community service.

A long-time Central Highlands supporter, Deputy Mayor Gail Nixon said the decision was "wonderful news" but urged more people to use the free service.

"We actually took this issue down to Canberra when we were there," Cr Nixon said.

"There was a big push on to retain the service as it is safe and the pilots are commercially registered.

"I just wish more people would get to know about it around here and use it."

While Angel Flight is not a service for medical emergencies, it is there for patients from regional and remote areas to ferry them for treatment in Brisbane.

Cr Nixon said it saved on the cost of a commercial flight and she called for more doctors to be educated about its availability.

"I would love to see more people use it in this area, because not many have unfortunately, which is a real shame," she said.

"I know a lady down Arcadia Valley way who used it about 50 times while getting treatment, and she was enthusiastic because they dropped in and picked her up at the property.

"Then there's the Earth Angels that meet people in Brisbane and take them to the hospital.

"It really is a marvellous service… but I don't think the local doctors know enough about it."

In a statement, CASA said feedback to its proposal to require community service flights to be operated under the authority of a self-administering organisation had swayed its decision.

CASA aviation safety director Mark Skidmore said the present guidelines and practices used by organisations such as Angel Flight were sufficient.

Cr Nixon will join with Emerald SES stalwarts Judy McDonald and Gary Plate in the 2015 Angel Flight Outback Trailblazer fundraiser, along with another Springsure entry from Betty Taylor.

The rally starts in Quilpie on April 18 and finishes at Winton for the town's Anzac Centenary celebrations.


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