From helping deliver a baby in the back of a helicopter, to rescuing an individual who had driven his car into the Murray River, no two days are the same for Senior Base Aircrew Officer, Sam Fielder.
Sam commenced his career with Babcock in 2007 as Rescue Crew Officer, operating from Horn Island Airport in the Torres Strait, North of Cape York Peninsula, Australia’s northernmost mainland point.
“At Horn Island we had to always be ready to respond to emergencies on the water. I performed a lot of water rescues, going down the wire and recovering people either from the water or from vessels. It can be incredibly demanding and requires great training, planning and teamwork,” Sam says.
“I was injured in 2013 and transferred to the Adelaide Base to be closer to home, first as a Line Aircrew Officer (ACO) and later as Supervisory ACO.”
Today Sam is based at Babcock’s hangar at Adelaide Airport, where he supports helicopter emergency medical services (HEMS), search and rescue (SAR) operations and airborne law enforcement.
“At Adelaide we are responding to things like police taskings, search and rescue missions, hospital transfers and road trauma where we work very closely with police officers, doctors, nurses and aeromedical paramedics.
“My role as Senior Base ACO is to help with mission planning, to assist the pilot with check lists and emergency procedures, to operate the hoist during a tasking, and to supervise and ensure the safety of anyone in the back of the aircraft, whether they are patients, police or emergency services personnel.
“At its core, my job is all about keeping people safe in dynamic and dangerous situations,” Sam says.
“This includes monitoring aircraft clearances where the pilot can’t see due to being in close proximity to obstacles when on a rescue mission, through to carrying out regular testing and inspection on lifejackets and other vital lifesaving equipment.
“Our role is response-based, and as such our aircraft and gear needs to be maintained to the highest standard so that we are ready to fly as soon as the phone goes off.
“When we are on a tasking, our versatility, adaptability and teamwork with the government agencies we work with are vital, particularly when the safety of our community is at stake.”
Sam, together with Senior Base Pilot Adam Richter, and two South Australian Police (SAPOL) officers, was awarded the Commissioner’s Community Policing Commendation for his recovery and first aid efforts during a SAPOL search operation in September 2021.
“That rescue was a complex tasking and required everyone’s best to get the job done. It is a great example of what makes my job so rewarding; helping people, giving back to the community, and working as part of a high performing team to overcome challenges,” Sam says.
When he is not flying with Babcock, Sam is a relief primary school teacher and a volunteer Life Saver with Henley Surf Life Saving Club and Grange Surf Life Saving Club.