Plane Crewperson – Phil
How long have you worked for Life Flight?
I started working here in 1987 when I was asked to get a team together to volunteer as crewmen. It was just after Peter Button’s tragic passing.
What work did you do before that?
I worked for the Airport Fire Service for 13 years.
What attracted you to this job?
I had known Peter Button and been involved with happenings at the airport since I was 17. Ultimately, I like to help people. I have always put this in front of everything else in my life.
What is the best part of the job?
The ability to help those people who are less fortunate. It’s very rewarding seeing people on their return flights, after having had successful life-saving care. I see people who were originally at death’s door and they can now walk onto the plane and go back to their lives. It is a privilege to work for Life Flight.
Over your 30+ years with Life Flight what are some changes you have seen, and do you have any standout memories of past flights?
I’ve flown on five different airplanes for Life Flight over my time here. The first plane was the Golden Eagle and we used to do search missions with the plane then.
I remember one flight in the 1980s where we searched for a distress beacon far out to sea. We searched for hours until finally spotting a life raft.
We circled what we believed to be two people in the raft while we waited for the helicopter team to arrive and winch them up.
After winching the first two survivors, everyone was surprised to discover there were actually five people down in the raft! To make room for the extras the fuel drums in the helicopter had to be emptied and, after all this extra time winching, it had become dark so those of us in the plane had to fly ahead of the chopper and guide it back to land.
What do you do when you’re not at work?
I take trips. My next trip is to China.
What would you like to say to our wonderful supporters?
Please keep supporting! We truly appreciate what you do for us. Thank you!
Read more about Missions overview
Missions overviewLearn about the types of missions generous donors help fund. Accidents, search and rescue, interhospital transfers and anything in between - no two days are the same at Life Flight.
Read more about Air Ambulance Planes
Air Ambulance PlanesThe two Life Flight Air Ambulance Planes are flying intensive care units for the critically ill and injured.
Read more about Accuro Health Insurance partners with Life Flight Trust
Accuro Health Insurance partners with Life Flight TrustTwo long-standing Wellington-based organisations dedicated to the health and wellbeing of New Zealanders have announced a new partnership. Not-for-profit Kiwi health insurer Accuro is now the principal Air Ambulance supporter for the Life Flight Trust.