Han Yu is Babcock’s Pilot in Command of Helicopter Emergency Medical Service (HEMS) for Air Ambulance Victoria. He started his career in the Royal Australian Navy as a helicopter pilot straight out of high school. He served in the Navy for 17 years before discharging and joining Babcock in September 2017. Now almost two years into civilian life, we talk to him about “crossing-over” from defence and about his career highlights so far.
“I have always wanted to become a pilot and flying helicopters in the military was a goal since I was very young. I spent 17 years in the military and it taught me a lot of things including pilot skills, team work, resilience, leadership and flexibility. These skills have definitely helped me transition to civilian flying in the EMS role with Babcock.
I decided to leave the military because essentially I achieved everything I wanted to, so I started looking around at jobs in the civilian industry and deciding what my next step would be. The challenges and job satisfaction of Emergency Medical Services flying appealed to me, so I applied for a job with Babcock and was fortunate enough to be placed on the Air Ambulance Victoria contract.”
As a Pilot in Command of the AW139 helicopter, Han normally flies as a crew of three – the pilot, an Aircrew Officer and the client (MICA Flight Paramedic). He is primarily responsible for getting our crew to the patient safely and efficiently, but his job doesn’t stop at flying the aircraft. Once the crew arrive at the scene he supports the paramedic with the stretcher and getting the right equipment to the patient. When the patient is ready for transport to a nearby medical facility, Han quickly switches back to pilot mode and ensures that all the checks and planning are complete for a safe journey. On completion of the task Han then re-sets and cleans the aircraft ready for the next call.
“I love working for Babcock. The culture at the company is one that fosters a great working environment, the company’s safety culture is also very strong and that is important as aviation is inherently risky”.
While no day is typical for Han, he enjoys the camaraderie, teaming and diversity of the job, he comments “our tasking could be a primary car accident, which requires landing on a road or paddock, or a hospital transfer from a local airport, or even a winch rescue from the alpine region, so there is no such thing as a typical flight”.
So how does he prepare for a day that he can’t predict? Han says he keeps abreast of the latest meteorology reports (the “Met”) and flight notifications of potential hazards (“NOTAM”), he also studies the regional airspace, ensures intimate knowledge of the aircraft systems and the company/CASA operating procedures.
So how is Han finding the job nearly two years on? In his own words, he says “I love working for Babcock. The culture at the company is one that fosters a great working environment, the company’s safety culture is also very strong and that is important as aviation is inherently risky. I also love the challenges that Emergency Medical Service flying presents and the job satisfaction of helping and serving the community. The professionalism displayed by everyone that I have worked with gives me the confidence that I’m part of a team that is at the pinnacle of the helicopter industry in Australia”.