For Babcock Australasia pilot, Andrew Taylor, no day is predictable. Highly trained, experienced and respected in his field, his work includes air ambulance Emergency Medical Services, Search and Rescue and surveillance tasks as part of the critical missions completed by Babcock every week.
A key government contractor, Babcock delivers the hardware, technical know-how and personnel to support a range of emergency services in South Australia, Queensland and Victoria, including air ambulances, search and rescue missions, surveillance for law enforcement and aerial fire-fighting.
Currently based at Babcock’s South Australian base at Adelaide Airport, Andrew has racked up plenty up experience piloting emergency services missions over the past 13 years.
Andrew says the coming together of people from different organisations, in high-pressure scenarios, works well.
“We work together closely with doctors, nurses, paramedics and police. We are an integrated team.
They include hospital transfers and attending serious car accidents.
“When we attend car accidents, in most of cases we find people have just made bad decisions. It actually makes me feel a bit better about myself that I don’t do those things,” he says.
“I’ve got three kids who drive and I tell them, ‘You’ve got to watch out for people on the road,’ and hopefully that will make them better drivers, to make sure they don’t end up in a situation like that.”
Like many of his Babcock work colleagues, Andrew’s love of helicopters emerged early and his aviation career began in the Australian Defence Force.
As a child in the regional South Australian town of Millicent, Andrew recalls building helicopters out of old tissue boxes and drinking straws.
His interest continued into his early adult years when a spontaneous meeting with defence recruiters proved the launch pad.
“Working as a helicopter pilot was always something that I assumed was unobtainable and it wasn’t until I reached my early 20s that I decided that if anyone can do it, I can do it,” he says.
“I was working as an electrician in a building in the city. The defence recruiting centre was over the road so I went in there and spoke to them during my lunch hour.
“They said ‘It’s really hard why don’t you try something else?’ That was all the challenge I needed.”
That fateful and motivational lunch break launched a 10-year stint as a pilot with the Royal Australian Navy before another career, also serving the community, beckoned at Babcock.
“It was the job I always wanted,” says Andrew.
“There’s that element of having to think on the run which keeps your mind sharp. You don’t quite know when you’re going to land and what you are going to encounter.
“There’s a certain level of interest because it’s not pre-planned; you never know what you’re going to get.”