Outback Air Race a soaring success

RECORD BREAKER: Steadfast Outback Air Race planes line up for a lunch break, day seven, on the dirt strip at Davenport Downs, Queensland and Paraway’s largest cattle station at almost four million acres. 										(sub)
RECORD BREAKER: Steadfast Outback Air Race planes line up for a lunch break, day seven, on the dirt strip at Davenport Downs, Queensland and Paraway’s largest cattle station at almost four million acres. (sub)

A local team who recently participated in the Steadfast Outback Air Race are thrilled to hear they helped to set a new fundraising record of $585,000.

Young girl Jane Crichton and Phil Hines of Wallendbeen took part in the 5000 kilometre, two week fundraising event in a two seater aircraft named Race Villain 7.

With their goal to raise $25,000 each, the race consisted of 26 light aircraft piloted by almost 70 crew and passengers from all over Australia.

Their mission, to raise $300,000 for the RFDS, was far surpassed.

The total was announced as a final cheque was recently presented to the Royal Flying Doctor Service by the Steadfast Outback Air Race (SOAR) 2015 organising Committee.

Jane and Phil said they were proud to have been a part of the historic success of this year’s event which raised almost twice as much as the previous 2012 Race.

On August 24, the group met and departed from Esperance in Western Australia on a route that took in many of Australia’s iconic landmarks including Uluru, Alice Springs, then over the Simpson Desert to Birdsville and Winton. 

It then saw participants fly over the spectacular Gulf Country to Karumba and across to Cooktown with the race finale and a breathtaking flight down the east coast to Hamilton Island.

Interestingly, the total kilometres flown by all 25 race teams, equating to almost 225,000km by race end, is around three average days flown by the RFDS throughout Australia.

In addition to participants focus on fundraising, there was the fun, yet competitive, daily rivalry of the race. 

So tight was this year’s competition, that to be in a top three position each day, pilots were required to be within metres of the daily GPS start and finish points while flying thousands of feet above them and within seconds of their nominated times according to race treasurer and veteran of the last four years, Stuart Payne.

“With a great voluntary committee, spread across the country, who worked tirelessly and professionally to deliver an extremely safe and well planned event, it was so thrilling to have exceeded all stakeholder expectations in such a tough economic environment,” Mr Payne said.

The Outback Air Race is now the largest community fundraising event held on behalf of the RFDS in Australia, having raised over $2 million since its inception in 1996.

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